Make the Most of Summer Sunshine – Safely

By Rachel Wilcinot, DO, Avera Medical Group Sibley

If you’re anything like me, sunshine is free therapy. However, while it’s often great for the mind, it’s not always great for the skin. And let’s face it, many of us around here are quite pasty – maybe even clear sometimes – so the start of the summer sun each year can pose a high risk for sunburn.

Everyone’s skin is a little different; if you are old enough to read and understand this article, you probably already know if you are someone who burns quickly in the sun. At minimum, we all should be using sunscreen with at least a 15 sun protection factor (SPF), but if you are one of those fair-skinned people, you might want to apply a higher number for at least the first few weeks of summer to allow a slow tan to come along instead of a quick sunburn.

When you are out in the sun, it’s also very important to drink fluids (and not the Friday or Saturday night fluids.) Even if you are not thirsty, you still need to drink water. Don’t forget about your eyes, as you can burn them, too. Remember to wear your coolest pair of sunglasses with UV protection whether it’s sunny in mid-July or even in mid-January.

If you do happen to sustain a sunburn, start treatment by protecting that skin from any further sun. Take cool baths or showers to help relieve the discomfort, and afterwards pat yourself to almost dry and apply a moisturizer containing aloe vera or soy. You may want to take Tylenol or ibuprofen (although this is not for everyone) for the pain.

It’s fine to use the sun for some therapy – I know I sure do – just be sure to protect yourself when you’re enjoying it.

Rachel Wilcinot, DO, is a family medicine physician with Avera Medical Group Sibley.

Minor dermatology and skin consultation is offered locally at Avera Medical Group Sibley. Schedule your appointment today by calling 712-754-3658.