Expert Commentary: James Platis, M.D. - 11/04/2009
Thinking shade will protect us: Though sitting in the shade offers relief from the sun’s heat, it’s certainly no protection its harmful UV rays.
Trusting old sunscreen: While it’s nice to imagine that contents of our old sunscreen bottles remain the same after a couple of years, they do degenerate and lose their effectiveness.
Forgetting about hair: The scalp is actually a very common location for basal cell carcinoma. Not only thinning areas, but areas where the hair is parted can be subject to very intense UV exposure. Also, the ears are another area that is overlooked when applying sunscreen, but are a typical location for skin cancers.
Thinking sunscreen is waterproof: Some sunscreens are more waterproof than others. Regardless of whether you're swimming or not, you should reapply every two hours or so in order to maintain effectiveness.
Ignorance of medication's effects: This should be mentioned by the prescribing physician, and is usually indicated on the prescription container. The oversensitivity to UV rays while taking tetracycline or related antibiotics can be profound.
All of the points raised here are good ones, but in addition to protection from potential skin cancers, avoidance of UV rays is critical for maintaining the complexion and elasticity of the skin. The long lasting effects of UV exposure are often delayed for many years and likely will not initially apparent. To prevent serious long term damage, avoiding overexposure should begin as soon as possible,. Skin care regimens designed to mitigate or even reverse the effects of UV skin damage are a large part of what we provide at CosMedic Skin and Body Clinic.