The temperatures only seem to be getting colder, and everyone is adorned or bundled up in warm clothing to protect them from the cold this winter or spending a lot of their time indoors. Even though the temperatures are cold and conditions don’t seem as if you could get a sunburn, did you know you are still at risk of experiencing skin damage during the winter?
When I step outside during the winter, I’m not usually aware of the damage that can still occur from sun exposure, and I’m sure others are in the same boat. Taking part in different winter activities such as skiing, snowboarding, spending time outside with family or any other activities that require you to be outside for extended periods of time still require you to apply SPF 30 sunscreen to any skin that may be exposed to the sun.
After reading this article from Healthy Living News that includes advice from Mercy Healthy dermatologist, Krishna Mutgi, MD, I’ve learned more about how the sun can have the same effects on one’s skin all year round. She explained the importance of applying sunscreen when outside for long periods of time during the winter and that even the most effective sunscreen needs to be reapplied every three hours.
Dr. Mutgi also noted that noticeable damage to the skin caused by too much sun exposure such as dark spots and/or wrinkles on the skin can be early indicators of skin cancer. She stressed that all forms of skin cancer only get worse by continuously being exposed to sunlight and regular medical checkups that include examinations of the skin should be done in order to prevent skin cancer.
Before reading this article, I wasn’t aware of how often different people should be visiting a professional to evaluate their skin. Those who have had a significant amount of sun damage or have used tanning beds frequently in the past should see a dermatologist every one to two years. People who’ve had skin cancer in the past should visit their dermatologist every six to 12 months while individuals who have little to no skin damage need to have an examination of their done by their primary care physician annually.
Many may also think that they’re not susceptible to getting diagnosed with skin cancer because they’ve never been sunburn or have experienced serious sun damage to their skin, however, medical professionals are stressing to everyone that just little amounts of repeated exposure to the sun can have severe effects to the skin. In other words, damage to the skin caused by the sun may not always be visible, but their still can be underlying problems if exposure is regular. It’s also important to remember that although you may not think the sun is harming you while you’re outside or feel as if you're not at risk to health problems down the road, you still should be taking the necessary precautions and having your skin examined just to be safe.
Another beneficial part of reading this article was that I learned how a dermatologist accesses or examines a mole that may appear on the skin to determine whether or not it’s harmful. They use the “ABCDE” method which evaluates the asymmetry, border, color, diameter, and evolvement of the mole or growth. If any of these features seem abnormal or are causing patients pain, then this could be an indicator of a more serious underlying problem.
To conclude this blog post, I think it’s incredibly important that everyone receives regular examinations of their skin in order to prevent or lower their risks of getting skin cancer. It’s also essential to make sure you are applying sunscreen when you know you’ll be outside on a sunny day for a long period of time because no matter the time of the year, you’re still at risk of seriously damaging your skin.