By Anne Marie Tremaine, MD

Photoprotection Can Save  Your Skin and Your LifeAs Floridians, whether it be work, play, or likely both, you are obtaining excessive amounts of sun exposure.

This constant exposure, worsened by the occurrence sun burns, is increasing your risk for skin cancer. As a dermatologist in SWFL, I see and treat these sun-induced skin cancers daily. My mission is to make sure you understand this risk and take preventative measures to maintain the health of your skin.

Skin cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in the United States. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Staggeringly, around 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are linked with exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends daily sunscreen use for everyone. You should wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen (protects against UVA and UVB exposure) with at least a Sun Protective Factor (SPF) 30 every day you are outside. Even on overcast days, most of the sun’s UV rays are penetrating through the clouds. It is important to apply the sunscreen 15 minutes before going outdoors. On days with prolonged outdoor exposure (boating/fishing days), it is imperative to use a water resistant SPF 50, and reapply every 2 hours, or after swimming or sweating.

While wearing adequate sunscreen is important, it is critical to understand that sunscreen (even SPF 100) does not block 100 percent of the sun’s rays. You also need to protect your exposed skin with items such as; wide brim hats, neck gaitors, buff masks, gloves, and sun protective clothing. I recommend looking for clothing with ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) 50. There are many companies that now offer UPF clothing in retail stores and online.

The next step is maintaining regular skin cancer screenings with your board certified dermatologist. Together these measures will help to prevent, as well as, detect and treat skin cancers at their earliest stages.

Dr. Tremaine is a board-certified dermatologist with fellowship training at Harvard Medical School in laser and cosmetic surgery. She has contributed as a dermatology expert for online and print magazines including Family Fun, msn.com, menshealth.com, and ccn.com. In addition, she frequently lectures to professional societies on her diverse research. For more information about skin care visit the Skin Wellness Physicians website at: www.skinwellnessflorida.com