Stay Safe in the Summer Sun

Rochester Regional Health experts share tips on enjoying the warmer – brighter – days ahead without increasing the risk of skin cancer.

Jun. 30, 2022 3   min read

As school comes to a close and summer fun beckons, dermatologists with Rochester Regional Health offer advice for keeping healthy while enjoying the sun.

Most important on their list? Prevent sunburns because five or more sunburns in a person’s lifetime doubles the risk of melanoma.

Experts say the easiest way to avoid sunburn is to skip exposure to the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you need to be outdoors during that time, wear clothing with a high Ultraviolet Protective Factor (UPF) rating. If the UPF isn’t on the label, look for tightly woven, dark colored clothing with less stretch.

Long sleeves, pants and hat are ideal for protecting your skin, but if it’s too warm outside for that, pay extra attention to your sunscreen. Sunscreens are rated by their Sun Protection Factor or SPF. The higher the SPF, the higher the level of protection. People with light skin should use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher when outside – and everyone should apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before heading outdoors. Reapply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming or sweating.

Catching melanoma early

With the recent pandemic, many patients postponed routine check-ups, but dermatologists say now is the time to return because melanoma is very treatable when caught early.

Keep an eye out for multicolored dark spots on your skin. Also, look for new spots and moles – and go see your doctor.

"You know, I always think to myself, when the time comes and I leave this earth, if I save someone from dying from melanoma I did my job,” said Rochester Regional Health lead dermatologist Nana Duffy, MD. “So this is really kind of what feeds our souls is keeping people safe from really bad skin cancers that could be treated early."

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