Summer is here and this year many are trying to catch up on the much-missed vacations of last year! Rest is very important, but we want to reap the benefits without the risk. Please remember to take care of your largest organ… your skin!

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and can affect anyone regardless of their age, gender, or race. While the sun is important for boosting our mood and receiving vitamin D, it can also damage our skin with the cancer-causing UVA and UVB rays.

The American Academy of Dermatology finds the best sunscreen to be… the one you will use! They also suggest a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least 30 SPF which provides 97% blockage from UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays. Another key is to reapply sunscreen every two hours, regardless of strength!

As you know, sunscreen comes in many varieties. There are physical (barrier) sunscreens which provide a shield for your skin to repel the rays and chemical sunscreens which absorb the sun’s rays like a sponge. If you have sensitive skin, physical sunscreens with be a better option for you. Common barrier sunscreens contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.

What about the young ones? Parents, they need your help! Sun shirts, sunglasses, shade and sun avoidance are best for children under six months of age.

If you have further questions, please visit your primary care provider and continue with annual wellness visits where skin checks can be performed.

Everyone should have a skin survey once per year as part of their annual exam.

Enjoy the sun, but stay safe!