Page 90 - South Mississippi Living - July, 2021
P. 90

 story by Victoria Snyder
 It’s warm. It’s sunny. The beach is right there. Why not go lay out for a bit and get a tan? You’ll spend some time outside, get some vitamin D, and relax. Where’s the harm in that?
 There’s a lot of possible harm, actually. If you do this without protection, you raise your risk for eye damage, brown spots, persistent redness, dilated blood vessels, and skin aging. Not just sunbathing – any prolonged time outside in the sun is potentially damaging.
What precautions can you make during your time outside? Well, we talked to local dermatologist Dr. Ashley Emerson from the Dermatology Clinic, PLLC to find out how you can safely enjoy your time spent in the sun.
“The most important benefit ofsun safety is decreasing your lifetime risk of skin cancer. Approximately one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime,” Dr. Emerson reveals.
Our skin also functions as part of our immune systems. UV exposure suppresses the immune functions of our skin, like preventing and destroying cancer cells that develop. This then increases our risk of developing numerous diseases and may worsen other skin and internal conditions that are sensitive to sun exposure. “The risk is directly related to the length of time and amount of sun we accumulate in our lifetime, so decreasing our exposure and protecting our skin is the most effective and
simplest way to improve our overall health, as well as our skin health.”
Dr. Emerson suggests that people follow the guidelines created by the American Academy of Dermatology:
• Seek shade when appropriate, remembering that the sun’s rays
are strongest between 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
• Wear sun-protective clothing, such as a lightweight long-
sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses with
UV protection
• Apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an
SPF of 30 or higher
• When outdoors, reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after
swimming or sweating
• Use caution near water, snow, and sand, as they reflect the
damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn
While sun protection is most often used during the summer, remember that the sun is around all year long – even on cloudy days – so your sun protection should be used all year round as well.
90 | July 2021 | SOUTH MISSISSIPPI Living

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