Dermatologists say ‘apply or fry’ during hot summer months

JACKSON, Tenn. — With temperatures predicted to be in the 90s all week, it’s no surprise July is UV Safety Awareness Month.

“We do know that sun exposure is the No. 1 preventable risk factor for skin cancer and melanomas,” said Dr. Dafnis Carranza of Dermatology and Skin Cancer Consultants.

Dermatologists say besides wearing protective clothing like hats and sunglasses, your most important defense is sunscreen.

“Do I think of sunscreen? I think of it. Do I apply it every day? No,” park visitor Julie Jackson said.

“Don’t even look at anything lower than 30, so as long as you’re at the 30 range,” Carranza said. “And obviously if it’s higher than 30, that’s fine.”

People we spoke with say no matter what they plan on doing throughout their day, whether they’re at the office or at the park, they try to apply sunscreen every morning just in case.

“I’ve been using a lot of very good skin products for protection,” park visitor Dr. Linda Miller said. “I put that on every day regardless if I’m working 12 hours a day, I still come out, like for our power walk.”

Your skin is your biggest organ, and dermatologists recommend scheduling a checkup at least once a year.

“Any mole that’s changing, whether its getting darker, larger, whether it bleeds or itches,” Carranza said. “Basically it’s important for you to know your skin and know what’s normal for you.”

Experts say sun exposure isn’t all bad as long as it’s done in moderation.

“Adequate levels of vitamin D help with the immune system and the immune response in making sure that we stay healthy and fight off infections and other kinds of cancers,” Carranza said.

“I enjoy being out in the sun too. It makes me feel good,” park visitor Jenny Turner said. “A little bit of a healthy glow makes me feel good about myself, so I think it’s OK to have a little bit of a suntan, but just in moderation.”

Doctors also recommend checking the expiration date on your sunscreen and reapplying at least every two hours.

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