For many of us, some winters just seem to last longer than others. And if you are raising your hand in agreement, chances are you are craving a little time right about now to get out in the sunshine and let the rays warm you up from your winter doldrums.
But don’t move too fast.
As many of you know, while the sun can be your friend, it can also cause damage to your skin—damage that can be very dangerous. In fact, any sunburn is going to increase your chances of skin cancer.
“Any sort of tanning is an injury to your skin,” explains Dr. Leslie Beaird. “I know people love that look of sun-kissed skin, but you have to be careful.”
Yet, before you decide to pull the sheets over your head and take cover in your home for the rest of the year, take some advice from one of the most well-known and trusted dermatologists in the area—the sun is your friend.
“You can pick my kids out at the pool every year,” laughs Dr. Beaird, a Northwestern University graduate who has been in practice in Hoffman Estates since 2001. “But I’m determined to make sure that while they can love the sun like the rest of us, they need to just make a sunblock a habit of sorts.”
Before you head out to buy the sunblock, Dr. Beaird recommends starting your summer off right with a baseline skin exam to ensure that all looks OK before you even throw on that bathing suit this summer.
“So many people get so worried about it, but many things we find during exams are benign,” explains Dr. Beaird, who is Board Certified by the American Board of Dermatology.
From there, much of sun protection is common sense. Wear a minimum of 30 SPF sunblock every day; even on the cloudy ones. Re-apply that sunblock every few hours while you are outside. And make sure to wear protective clothing over areas that routinely get too much sun. But there are some sun protection tips that you might have missed through the years.
“I tell my patients to put sunblock on 30 minutes before they even go outside, just to ensure they take the time to put it on thoroughly,” explains Dr. Beaird, whose office also features the talents of Dr. Gabriel Martinez-Diaz, along with physician assistants Stephanie Tracey and Callie Dahleen. “And I also tell my patients not to forget to put sunblock on their lips and certain parts of their scalp.”
And here’s another tip that Dr. Beaird would like you to keep in mind: Don’t sweat it.
“Get in here to get checked so we can catch anything early that might be going on,” Dr. Beaird suggests. “If something needs to be addressed, then address it. But then go on with your life. Enjoy the sun. Go on vacation and sit on a lounge chair next to the pool. Just remember to put that sunblock on.”
Beaird Dermatology is located at 4855 Hoffman Boulevard., Suite 407 in Hoffman Estates, 224-484-0183, beairddermatology.com.