J. Gregory Neily, DO – Board Certified Dermatologist, Mohs Micrographic Surgeon
Living in our beautiful state has many advantages, the most obvious, is our weather. For many of us, these activities are a big part of our social and family life. On any given weekend, just visit the local beach or park, and you will find families gathering to celebrate a birthday with a BBQ, couples taking walks together, and friends playing a quick game of ball. Outdoor living is just a part of our culture.
Greg Neily, D.O.
Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Greg Neily is a Mohs Micrographic surgeon specializing in skin cancer. Dr. Neily explains, “I have grown up in Florida most of my life, and like most kids, I spent my childhood outdoors. I have great memories of playing ball at the local recreational park, riding my bike and running on my cross-country team. Here we can pursue outdoor activities year round. It keeps us active and builds our community. Of course, there is a downside to the hours we spend enjoying our great weather.” According to Health and Human Services, Florida has the second highest incidence of Melanoma in the country. Dr. Neily continues, “With sun exposure being a leading cause, it is vital we balance our love for the outdoors with some sun-safe precautions.”
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
With a little planning, Dr. Neily states, “You can drastically reduce the effects of the sun by keeping outdoor activities to morning and early evening. A general rule is to avoid sun exposure between 10 am – 3 pm. The bonus is that it’s cooler outside in the evening and you avoid mid-day crowds.”
FLORIDA’S BIG THREE: TENNIS, GOLF, AND FISHING
Tennis, golf, and fishing are three of Florida’s most popular activities. They are among the most common but contain the most risk of dangerous levels of sun exposure. Here are some tips to think about when enjoying outdoor activities.
It is no surprise that Florida is the top spot for golfing, boasting more than 1000 courses. While beautiful, they are wide open to sun exposure. Any golfer knows that early tee times are not easy to get,
but its worth the effort to avoid the most powerful rays of the day. Hanging under the cover of your trusty golf cart between plays can drastically reduce your time in the sun.
Most clubs and public courts offer night play when its cooler, less crowded, and best of all it’s out of the sun. It’s also a fun option for couples looking for something different to do for date night. Hitting the courts after sunset is excellent for families too.
While getting out on the water early is the obvious choice of most fishermen, this activity generally is an all-day event. The risk factors are not only increased by being exposed for an extended period of time, but also by the reflection off of the water intensifies it even more. “I probably see more skin cancers from men and women who fish than any other sport,” says Dr. Neily. “Thankfully, anglers are taking skin cancer risks seriously. Full-face masks are becoming the weapon of choice for many who spend their time on the water. I see those everywhere.”
One of the most significant advances in sun protection has been in the activewear industry. Many of today’s major brands are made with UV absorbing fabric. Dr. Neily recommends looking for sun-protective clothing rated UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) of 30 or higher.
ALL SUNSCREENS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL
When outdoors, a general rule is to apply an SPF of at least 50. Dr. Neily says, “It’s important to use SPF with a broad-spectrum label. This will cover both UVA and UVB rays and actually absorb and reflect the sun. We recommend reapplying every two hours. When heavy sweat is involved, consider a water or sweat resistant option. Zinc sunblock physically blocks your skin from the sun. Yes, they’ve had a reputation for making you look a bit ghostly but they have greatly improved over the years, and the residue is minimal.”
ASK YOUR DERMATOLOGIST
Every year at the annual American Academy of Dermatology Convention, Dermatologists are given a front row seat to the latest advancements in the fight against skin cancer that are on display. “We can be a great resource if you have specific concerns about your favorite outdoor sport. As always, get an annual skin exam and let your Dermatologist know if you have noticed any changes on your skin.” States Dr. Neily
There are many great ways to stay active here in the Sunshine State. Now, with knowledge and preparation, you can stay sun safe as well! Please visit Dr. Neily’s website at drneily.com and join their community by following them on Facebook at facebook.com/coastdermatologyfl for the latest news in skin cancer prevention, tips, and technology.
Coast Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center
21550 Angela Lane, Venice, FL 34293