Ask the Expert: Protecting your skin from the sun

Ask the Expert

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – As we head into the summer season– many of us will be spending more time outdoors in the sun.

As part of our “Ask the Expert” series, with Bon Secours St. Francis Health, 7 News Taylor Murray spoke with a nurse practitioner about how you can take advantage of the warmer weather without raising your skin cancer risk.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States.

 “Skin cancer is caused by exposure to the sun”.

Gertrude Bassey / Nurse Practitioner, Bon Secours St. Francis Health

Gertrude Bassey, a nurse practitioner, says protection, like sunscreen, is key to preventing skin cancer.
“It can be cream. It can be lotion. It can be gel. When we apply it, we are protecting the skin.”

It is important to apply sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor or SPF of at least 15. Be sure to lather up before you step outside.
“We have to apply 15 minutes before we go out.”
If your outdoor plans include swimming or activities that lead to increased sweating, then you will likely need to re-apply.
“Applying one time and being out in the sun is not a guarantee that we are going to protect our skin.”
Nurse Bassey says there are some other ways to protect yourself from the sun’s UV rays.
“They can wear a shirt that covers their skin. They can be under a tree”.
If you get a painful sunburn, then it’s a good idea to call your doctor immediately instead of treating it at home.
“People should just reach out to the provider and let the provider do the assessment.”
The redness of a sunburn may be harder to see on those with darker complexions, but sun damage is still possible.

In fact, there is a form of melanoma more common in melanin-rich skin.

Nurse Bassey says people of all skin tones should take sun protection seriously.
“We want people to go out and enjoy themselves, but be cautious. They have to take precautions.”
Even on a cloudy day, sun protection is essential. UV rays can pass through the clouds.
To submit a health topic for our Ask the Expert series, click here.

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