Monday, May 20, 2024

Expert Tips: Safeguarding Your Skin During Midnight Sun Season

As the midnight sun graces Alaska and the summer travel season approaches, safeguarding your skin becomes imperative. Skin Cancer Awareness Month underscores the importance of protecting yourself from harmful UV rays, especially during extended daylight hours.

In a national survey conducted by the Orlando Health Cancer Institute, it was found that 32% of Americans believe tanned skin appears healthier and more attractive. However, medical experts warn against this perception, emphasizing the risks associated with sun exposure.

Dr. Rajesh Nair, an oncology surgeon at the Orlando Health Cancer Institute, highlighted, “There is no such thing as a healthy tan. It’s a visual representation of skin damage.” He cautioned against the misconception that sun exposure offers health benefits, emphasizing its association with deadly diseases like melanoma.

Despite the availability of information, the survey revealed concerning misconceptions. Approximately one in seven adults under 35 believe that daily sunscreen use is more harmful than sunlight. Similarly, 23% believe that staying hydrated prevents sunburn. However, experts refute these claims, emphasizing the importance of sunscreen and protective clothing.

Brianna Starr, 29, shared her experience, noting the prevalence of misinformation on social media platforms. “I think a lot of people get their information from TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, that might not be actually legit,” Starr said.

Having witnessed her sister’s melanoma diagnosis at 19, Starr stressed the importance of regular dermatologist check-ups. “There is a history of melanoma in my family, so I started seeing a dermatologist every six months and actually flagged two separate moles,” Starr said.

Dr. Nair stressed the importance of skin cancer screenings, especially among young adults. “Unfortunately, we’re seeing skin cancer more and more in patients of a young age. And because it’s often not on their radar, it tends to be diagnosed in more advanced stages,” he said.

While encouraging outdoor activities for their health benefits, Dr. Nair emphasized the importance of sun protection. “Sun protection can be lifesaving. The only effective way of protecting yourself is limiting the effects of UV radiation on the skin,” he concluded.

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