Doctors urge skin protection as temperatures heat up

Skin cancer can pop up anywhere on the body where there’s skin, including under fingernails and in the eyes, according to skin experts.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As the temperature outside in Charlotte heats up to 90-plus degrees outside, skin experts with Novant Health are warning people to protect their skin this summer.

“Everyone should use sunscreen,” Dr. Alyssa Daniel, a dermatologist with Novant Health Dermatology Ballantyne, said. “All skin types can benefit from the goals of, of course, preventing skin cancer and also secondary, helping with photo-aging or sun damage that can cause damage to the skin.”

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Daniel recommends slathering on the sunscreen and suggests applying one with an SPF of at least 30 every two hours while in the sun.

“The more important part is the reapplication every two hours of your sunscreen,” Becky Vaglio, PA-C with Novant Health Dermatology Ballantyne,  said. “So, if you’re doing SPF 30 or higher every two hours when you’re actively out in the sun, then you’re doing a good job.”

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Doctors also recommend wearing sun-protective clothing and items with a UPF label on them. UPF stands for ultraviolet protection factor.

“Is that in lieu of, again, sunscreen?” Daniel said. “No, I’d still recommend having sunscreen on the face and all other exposed areas, but that is actually a very helpful way to keep the sun off the skin and protect against future skin cancer.”

Dermatologists say there’s no such thing as a safe tan and recommend avoiding tanning beds at all costs.

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“Any tan or darkening of the skin equals sun damage,” Vaglio said, “so there’s no such thing as your base tan to help you prevent you from burning.”

As more people head out to the beach or the lake with the sun beating down this summer, doctors say it’s important to keep in mind that skin cancer can pop up anywhere on the body where there’s skin, even under your nails.

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