With beautiful spring and summer days ahead, Floridians will be heading outside to soak up the sunshine. However, the sun presents dangers for the body’s largest organ: the skin.
Dr. Michael Steppie, medical director for Associates in Dermatology, stresses the importance of making sunscreen part of your daily ritual. “Remember that UV radiation is present every day, even when it’s cloudy,” he says. “So you should always play it safe in the sun.”
UVA rays (“aging” rays) penetrate twice as deep into the skin and are more constant year-round than UVB rays (“burning” rays). On average, a person’s risk for melanoma doubles if they’ve had more than five sunburns, but one blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles the chances of developing melanoma later in life.
Dr. Steppie says that skin cancer rates are at an all-time high. In the past 10 years, cases of invasive melanoma — the deadliest form of skin cancer — have increased by 44%.
Your best defense against harmful rays is seeking shade when outdoors, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. — the sun’s peak hours. Also, wear a broad-brimmed hat or cap and UV-blocking sunglasses.
“Unforunately, the pandemic has caused patients to put off their annual skin exam, yet early detection of skin cancer is key,” Dr. Steppie says. “So be sure to schedule your skin check.”
Besides being a widely recognized leader in skin cancer treatment, including Mohs micrographic skin cancer surgery, Associates in Dermatology provides an array of dermatological services across its 17 Central Florida locations, including the treatment of diseases of the skin, hair and nails as well as aesthetic services.