Summer party season is in full effect—we’re still all aglow from the holiday sun and sparklers. Not to be a buzzkill, but since it’s prime suntan—and sunburn—season, we want to make sure you’re fully protected. Dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman has all your sun safety tips and reminders.
Apply Sunscreen. Often and Everywhere.
We hate to sound like a broken record, but this one bears repeating: Even if your skin tone is tan, or dark, you still need to apply sunscreen religiously. “It is important to reapply throughout the day and apply to commonly forgotten areas like ears, lips, hands, and scalp,” says Dr. Engelman. Still not convinced? Did you know that Bob Marley had skin cancer? Due to an aggressive form of skin cancer that developed under his toenail (attributing it to a soccer injury, he never got it checked), and later spread, the singer lost his life to the disease. Moral of the story: No one’s safe and we’ve got to be diligent about checking our bodies.
Find the Right Formula.
If you’re still cringing at memories of chalky sunblock, we’re happy to report those days are over. “There are so many great sunscreens on the market, from powder to liquid and tinted to invisible,” advises Dr. Engelman. “And with all the moisturizing options, it’s easier than ever to incorporate sunscreen into your daily routine.”
Try: Banana Boat Dry Balance Sunscreen Spray - SPF 50, $8, target.com
Dr. Engelman suggests wearing both a mineral and chemical sunscreen for the fullest coverage. “Chemical sunscreens contain UVB absorbing chemicals and, more recently, UVA absorbers as well,” she advises. “These carbon-based compounds (oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate and avobenzone) create a chemical reaction that changes UV rays into heat, then releases the heat. Mineral sunscreens, aka physical blockers, contain active mineral ingredients, such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which work by sitting on top of the skin to deflect and scatter damaging UV rays away from the skin.” Dr. Engelman suggests layering the formulas with the chemical blocker as base.
People of color have higher skin cancer mortality rates, often due to late diagnosis. “According to the latest report by the American Cancer Society, Hispanics are more likely than non-Hispanic whites to face barriers to proper cancer treatment,” warns Dr. Engleman. “The availability of healthcare and access to medical education is less reaching for the Hispanic population, which results in fewer and later diagnosis. It can be the difference in saving a woman’s life.” Knowledge is power; if you know what to look out for, you can be your own best advocate. “Look for any changes in skin tone or texture,” says Dr. Engleman. “If a patch of skin becomes more rough or discolored or you notice dark spots, see your dermatologist." The sooner you get checked the better.