Protecting Your Skin in Summer Weather

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Thursday September 18, 2008

GAINESVILLE, GA – Did you know that sunscreen loses its effectiveness if kept too long? What about the guidelines that specialists recommend to apply sunscreen generously at least 30 minutes before heading outside?

“People tend to think that wearing sunscreen is only necessary in the summer,” said Amber Herron, aesthetician with the Aesthetic Center of Gainesville. “Thanks to better education, more people are realizing that UV rays are present throughout the entire year. You may not realize it, improper use of sunscreens can result in potentially serious skin damage.”

As an aesthetician, Herron specializes in skin care and is qualified to work with patients to recognize potential skin problems. The Aesthetic Center of Gainesville is a division of Northeast Georgia Plastic Surgery Associates that focuses on cosmetic surgery procedures. Herron works with the physicians at the NE Georgia Plastic Surgery to assist in patient care of skin problems. She also sees patients to help them improve the condition of their skin and learn correct techniques to reduce damage and the signs of aging.

“It’s always a good idea to wear sunscreen all year long,” she said. “Even on an overcast day or when it’s wintertime, your skin is still susceptible to the harmful UVA and UVB rays that can cause pre-mature aging, possible skin cancer and dryness.”

Herron offers these five tips for sunscreen use:

* Use a product with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 15. The higher the number, the longer an individual can stay in the sun without receiving a burn as compared to the amount of time it would take to burn without any sunscreen.

* Apply sunscreen liberally. Use more than half a teaspoon of sunscreen on each arm as well as the head and neck. More than a teaspoon should be applied to each leg, the back, and the front of the torso.

* Re-apply often, especially after swimming or participating in sports. A general guideline it to apply approximately every one to two hours.

* Look for a broad-spectrum product that protects from both UVA and UVB light rays. Both can damage skin.

* Check the expiration date when purchasing sunscreen. After the expiration date passes, the effectiveness decreases.

* “It only takes a minute or two each day to get in the habit of using sunscreen on your face, hands and arms,” Herron said. “By doing so, you’re protecting your skin from harmful rays that may cause serous health problems, including cancer.”