5 Tips on Protecting Your Skin From the Sun

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We just want to share some of the information we receive from our patients and others on the concerns that many individuals have on protecting their skin form the sun. Dr. Joseph Machuzak

So today I will share with you 5 tips on protecting your skin from the sun.

I love the beach. In my teens, I became enamored with the sand, waves, gentle breezes and beautiful sun. It all began with my first summer beach trip with my teen church group.

Since then, it has been my yearly goal to spend most of my summers lounging the hours away on as many east coast beaches as I could.

Protecting Your Skin From the Sun

I never considered the advice given at Cancer.Net for protecting your skin from the sun. On many beaches, I am always somewhat of a novelty. You see, I am typically one of the few or usually the only dark skinned African American that dare to take on the direct rays of the sun with total abandon. Cancer.net recommend 5 great tips to follow to make beach trips enjoyable.

TIP 1 – Know Your Skin Type.

Lighter skin types such as Caucasian skin can be affected by sun exposure quicker and to a greater degree. However, even darker African American skin such as mine can get substantial damage as well from prolonged sun exposure.

I consider myself a true sun goddess! I usually get many critical stares from others nearby as they huddled under SPF 30 scented cabanas. They will don sweaty headed, big rimmed sun hats, matching fashionable UV absorbing sun shades with noses slathered in the loudest neon colored sunscreen paste from the drugstore shelf.

On the other end of that spectrum is me.

I have always made it my point to wear the most retro swimsuit I could find and the cutest water shoes on the market. Got to protect the bottom of my feet, you know. With my matching beach mat and towel set, I laid out plans of relaxation in my head. My plans for the next few hours only included me, the water and the latest horror novel. I realized much too late that had I followed the advice of

TIP 2 – Limiting My Time In The Sun

I would have avoided the skin damage I received. It was on one of my beloved beach trips that events were set in motion. Unbeknownst to me, the events to come would even rival the horrors chronicled in my novel.

It started out as the perfect beach day. It was an 86-degree morning, mostly cloudy with constant cool breezes coming off the vast ocean waves. I thought it was such a beautiful day to take a nice long swim in the nice saltiness of that ocean and allow it to relax me deeply before I return to the beach and get on with reading my novel.

Although the water was much cooler than I expected, the intermittent peeks of sun had the tendency to provide just enough heat to knock away the chill. For hours, I swam, at times losing sight of the beach.

Just as I felt somewhat tired and floating was beginning to be a good idea, I thought better of it and sluggishly swam back to the beach and flopped myself exhaustingly on my beach towel. I was so tired and to thwart dehydration I drank the three bottles of cold water that I had brought with me. There again, I ignored the advice that Cancer.net had given in

TIP 3 – Making Sure I Was Hydrated

Always making sure I was hydrated before the beach and continue to stay hydrated throughout my day. Although the three bottles of water refreshed me, what I drank came a bit too late. I just wanted to lay back and read my horror novel without interruption. I joked with a passing beach goer who asked me how long I had been out there. I laughingly told her I did not know, but when I arrived my skin color was of a much lighter persuasion.

Being that she was of a much lighter persuasion, she thought my reply was quite hilarious. As she continued to walk away, I turned back to reading my novel. I was just getting to the real scary part when I felt someone shaking me and calling me “Lady! Lady! Are you ok? Wake up!” I awoke to find it was the beach goer I had joked with earlier.

I had no idea that I had fallen asleep under what was now a 99 degree, evening sun! So, there it was, the moment I realized erred in ignoring this article at Cancer.net.

TIP 4 – Stay In The Shade

Seek the shade, especially between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM, critical times when the sun can be directly overhead and the hottest.

Heavily, I sat up and told my rescuer thanks for waking me up, and I would be fine once I returned to my beachside hotel room and took a cool shower. Returning to my hotel room was the longest and toughest walk I’d ever experienced. I noticed that half-way there I had the chills.

Passing the hotel pool, I was unable to remember my room number. The front desk clerk helped me remember my room number and once inside my room, I had just enough strength to drink more water, take that cool shower and fall over into the bed.

The next morning, I awoke and knew immediately I was in trouble. My skin was clammy and tremendously tight, pulse racing and I was dizzy. Calling the front desk, I asked for the location of the nearest hospital emergency room.

The ER doctor diagnosed me with Sun Poisoning! Although medicated, I still endured five days of extreme lethargy, skin shedding and excruciating body aches and pain! I can say it was a lesson learned. I am still a sun goddess.

However, I am now a sun goddess that now take precautions to protect my skin from the sun. On all my future beach trips, I am sure to follow Cancer.net

TIP 5 – Use Sunscreen of 15 SPF+

Apply sunscreen of SPF 15 or above. The higher the SPF the longer it will provide protection. Sunscreen of SPF 15 will protect me for five hours and I reapply every two hours as directed.

As a bonus, I no longer receive sickening sunburn or critical stares from my fellow-beach goers.

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