Menomonee Falls - We all know we need to wear sunscreen, but how many of us actually wear it correctly?
Two Menomonee Falls skin care and dermatology experts weighed in on the common mistakes people make that leave the skin vulnerable to sun exposure.
The main issue with sun damage is not that people don't wear sunscreen, it is that they don't reapply it. Even though sunscreen packaging may say it is water resistant, sunscreen should be reapplied every two to three hours, said Carolyn Quella, physician assistant in the dermatology department at Froedtert Health Menomonee Falls Clinic.
"We sweat them off, we wipe them off and we need to be aware of reapplication if we're outside," Quella said.
Paulina Laskosky from Hand and Stone Massage Spa strongly agreed. She said most signs of premature aging they see at the spa are a result of sun exposure. A common mistake, she said, is people apply sunscreen once in the morning and that is it.
Watch your hands
Laskosky also keeps a small bottle of sunscreen in her purse to reapply it frequently to her hands, an area where sunscreen wears off more quickly. Hands are one part of the body that will show premature aging before any other because people forget to protect their hands from the sun, Laskosky said.
"Hands really show advanced signs of aging," she said.
Many people also forget to protect the back of their necks, tops of their ears and their feet, Quella said. Though skin cancer can form on any part of the body, these are common areas.
"Women will apply sunscreen to their face, arms and legs and forget about their chest," she said. "I also see a lot of sun damage there as well."
Simple steps can save skin
Skin changes depending on the weather.
"It's really important to re-evaluate your skin care routine seasonally," Laskosky said.
A deeper cleaning of the face is important in the summer as people spend more time outside and sweat, causing pollution to stick to this skin. During the summer, many people think splashing water on their face is enough of a cleansing routine. Laskosky said it is definitely not enough.
She recommends people use a gentle exfoliant daily and a stronger exfoliant once a week. A double cleanse can also help reveal the fresh skin underneath.
Microderm abrasion is also a possibility to reveal healthier skin and reverse some of the signs of early aging.
Hand and Stone Massage, W15560 Silver Spring Drive, provides free skin care consultations that determine how much damage there is to the skin and what the best treatment plan is.
Self exams key in catching cancer early
Quella and fellow staff in the clinic's dermatology department recommend people do self skin examinations every month to check for signs of skin cancer. The clinic follows the American Academy of Dermatology's ABCDE test.
The "A" is for asymmetry, meaning if a mole or freckle is circular or oval, it is most likely benign.
"If it has a funny shape or no shape, you want to get checked," Quella said.
"B" is for border. If a mole or spot has a distinct border, it is statistically at less risk of being cancerous. "C" stands for color. A mole of more than one hue or a mole that changes color at all should be checked. "D" is for diameter. Quella said anything greater than six millimeter in diameter is at a greater risk.
"E" is for evolution, which means if a person experiences any changes whatsoever to a spot or mole, they should see a dermatologist or physician.
"I encourage SPF treated clothing, hats with brims and checking your own skin once a month and to see your dermatologist or physician once a year for a skin examination," Quella said.
AT A GLANCE
Quick tips to prevent sun damage:
reapply sunscreen every two to three hours
follow the American Academy of Dermatology's ABCDE test to check for skin cancer
deep clean the skin and use a light exfoliant daily
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