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Sunshine and Skin!

Updated: Jun 14, 2021

Beth Scholl sat down for an interview addressing an important issue that concerns us all because it is Summer Time! Beth is a Certified Physician's Assistant. Beth has been part of the Carrollton Medical Community since 2002 and has worked with the Primary Care doctors at PCG for over 6 years now.

Do we need to be in the sun?

We do need some sunlight but we don’t need prolonged amounts of time. #summer

How much is too much sunshine?

There are so many factors like time of day and geographical location (how close to the equator, countries close to the hole in the ozone layer, mountainous regions). UV index also plays a role. Skin type is a huge factor- people with very light skin shouldn’t stay out more than 10’minutes while people with black skin and hair with dark brown eyes can stay out for more than an hour. I guess the answer is it’s different for everyone. In general, 5-15 minutes is enough. If you’re out longer, you need sunscreen, protective clothing (sunglasses) and to seek shade.

Under the Umbrella at the Beach

Is vitamin D obtained by being in the sunshine?

Yes but it can also be obtained through eating dairy, fatty fish, eggs and other foods fortified with Vitamin D.

Why do you get sunburn faster at the beach than at home?

This is really due to length of exposure to the sun. People generally spend a lot more time in the sun at the beach than they do at home. It’s important to remember while at the beach to reapply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every 2 hours or after being in the water or sweating a lot. Wear protective clothing and seek shade while at the beach.

What is better, sunscreen or protective clothing?

Both are equally important as well as seeking shade.

What about for a balding head?

Hats with a wide brim are important even if you have a full head of hair. Remember to cover those ears!!

Can a primary care provider play a role in skin cancer diagnosis?

Absolutely! A PCP can look at any concerning skin lesions to determine the need for removal and or referral to a dermatologist. If you’ve had a history of a lot of sun exposure though, it’s a good idea to see a specialist for a full body skin exam once a year. #pcgofwestga

Are men or women more susceptible to skin cancers?

Before age 40, women are twice as likely as men to get melanoma- the second most common form of skin cancer in young people. Melanoma and basal cell carcinoma rates are increasing more quickly in young women than in young men. Overall, men are more likely than women to get skin cancer.

Does growing older make us more susceptible to skin cancer?

Skin cancer is more common with age because damage from UV light builds up over time. Your body’s ability to find and destroy cancer cells decreases as you age as well. You also produce fewer new skin cells and the older cells don’t control cell growth as well. Cells that grow in an unregulated way can sometimes result in a tumor.

If you had a single recommendation for someone related to skin cancer what would that be?

Tanning beds- just don’t!! People who use a tanning bed before the age of 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75 percent!! It’s not worth the risk!!

Go to the skin cancer foundation- great info.

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