The record-breaking temperatures and heat indexes of July were a reminder of the intense power of the sun and an important prompt to protect the skin and eyes from its damaging rays. If protecting the skin from the sun is not already a regular habit, it only takes a takes a stretch of extreme heat or a visit to a sporting event or outdoor park resulting in a painful sunburn to remember why consistent sun care should be a priority.


Make it a Daily Habit


While there’s nothing inherently difficult about the application of sunscreen, it’s often a challenge to make it a regular habit. In many cases, it takes around 66 days to successfully create and maintain a new habit. When you’re ready to begin, it’s often helpful to have guidelines for success. If you work at home or in an office, sun care is as easy as applying a nickel-to-quarter-sized amount of SPF 30 on the face. The same amount should also be applied to the individual areas of the neck and ears, chest, arms and any other areas of exposed skin. This single application is sufficient for the amount of sun received during indoor working hours, commuting, the lunch break and the drive home.


If you are out in direct sunlight for a period of three to four hours at a time, it’s important to reapply SPF 30 sunscreen at least every two hours. Direct exposure of the sun, sweating and swimming break down sunscreen. Mineral sunscreen is the perfect option for outdoor activities because it provides immediate protection, just apply and go. Synthetic sunscreens with ingredients such as octinoxate, oxybenzone and avobenzone require 20 minutes to soak in before becoming effective. Always make sunscreen the very last layer applied. Additional products placed on top of sunscreen can cause them to be less effective.


Don’t Forget a Full Body Skin Exam


One of the benefits of a consistent sun care habit is becoming more familiar with your skin. As a result, when and if irregularities arise, there’s a greater chance of any changes being noticed. Once a year, it’s also a good idea to book an appointment with a dermatologist for a head-to-toe exam. The dermatologist can view areas of the body that are less accessible for self-examination, such as the scalp and back, and assess changes in the size, shape, color and borders of any moles.


What to Expect in a Full Body Skin Exam

  • Normally 15 to 20 minutes
  • Medical history review
  • Scalp-to-feet exam by dermatologist
  • Time to ask about questionable spots or moles


Before the start of a new school year, let the dermatologists at Sunflower Dermatology assess and correct current sun damage and start you on a new course of improved skin care. To learn more about Sunflower Dermatology’s approach to Better Skin for a Better Life, talk to the dermatologic experts at Sunflower Dermatology and Medical Day Spa in Riverside, Missouri. They offer medical dermatology, surgical dermatology, cosmetic dermatology procedures and photodynamic. Protect the largest organ in your body and improve the long-term appearance and health of your skin with Sunflower Dermatology & Medical Day Spa.

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