2017-07-01 / Features

How Much Sun Exposure Is Too Much?

We live on the Gulf Coast of Florida for a reason – its sugar white sand, abundance of fresh seafood, a laidback life-style and 200-plus days of glorious sunshine every year. Summer for us means boating, fishing, swimming in the Gulf or lounging by a refreshing pool.

When it comes to sun exposure, is it too much of a good thing? The skin experts at Henghold Skin & Surgery Group are answering some commonly asked questions to help us enjoy the summer sun responsibly.

How much sun exposure is too much? The sun provides our bodies with a healthy dose of vitamin D from its ultraviolent rays. Unfortunately, when someone is overexposed to these same UV rays, the result can be painful sun burn, skin damage and skin cancer. Twenty to 25 minutes of sunshine a day gives us the needed health benefits from the sun. This is simply walking to and from the car or mail box. Keep in mind, sun damage to our skin is cumulative and there’s no such thing as a “healthy tan.”

Can you get skin cancer from one sunburn? It is unclear if you can get skin cancer from just one burn; however, numerous sunburns as a child or adolescent lead to a significantly increased risk of developing skin cancer as an adult. Regardless of your age, overexposure to UV radiation increases your chances of developing skin cancer.

So, how do I protect myself from getting a sun burn and skin cancer? Plan ahead. Apply sunscreen every day. If you know you will be outside for an extended period of time, apply a waterproof, broadspectrum sun screen -- SPF 30 or greater -- 30 minutes before exposure and reapply at least every two hours. Plan for shade and take cover. Bring a beach umbrella or plan for a lunch break indoors. Wear UV protective clothing, sunglasses and a broad-brimmed hat. Lastly, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. Go see your dermatologist every year for a skin exam.

The Henghold Skin Health & Surgery Group offers a full spectrum of dermatologic services for the whole family and offers several locations for patient convenience: 1118 Gulf Breeze Pkwy., Suite 200, in Gulf Breeze; and 530 Fontaine St., 540 Fontaine St., and 4541 North Davis Hwy., Suite C, in Pensacola. To learn more or schedule an appointment, call (850) 474-4775, visit www.henghold.com, and like us on Facebook at Henghold Skin Health & Surgery Group.

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