WHY COOLER WEATHER CAN ACTUALLY MAKE THE SUN MORE DANGEROUS.
I'm an Illinois girl. I know what heat is. Hot, muggy, sweltering heat. You know what I’m talking about? The kind of heat that no matter how many clothes you take off, you just can't get cool.
Maybe that’s why I moved to Summit County, Colorado. It rarely gets REAL hot here and if it does, the evenings are cool and breezy. Man, I love living here.
Being the “Derm Nerd” (that’s what my patients, friends and family call me) I am, I get absolutely nerdy when it comes to protecting people's skin health. I have worked in multiple Dermatology offices and major ER’s and I have seen pretty much everything there is to see in what people do to their bodies. I can describe it in one word: Yikes.
Because of this, opening Renew Dermatology was just the next natural step in helping people protect their health, especially when it comes to their skin. You know, your skin…the largest organ in your body. That skin stuff is what people see when you walk out of your house, kind of like the paint job on your car. You want to keep it in top condition, not get all rusty and crusty, right?
WHY COOLER WEATHER CAN BE DANGEROUS
As we start to transition from Summer to Fall, specifically if you travel here to the high country from lower areas where it may still be warm, it becomes a HUGGGGE problem when folks forget to protect their skin or think that it is not necessary to wear sunscreen because it’s cloudy outside.
Call it the sweater effect. You come here and the air temperature is naturally 20 to 30 degrees cooler, so you grab your hoodie or sweater and cover up. Mmmmmm, feels so good. In fact the sun feels soooo good. THIS IS DANGEROUS.
As it warms up in the afternoon, you might even pull a couple layers off, exposing even more of your precious skin. Here is why you have to be careful: UV or ultraviolet rays are damaging your skin, no matter what the weather or temperature is.
UV IS UV, NO MATTER WHAT IS GOING ON OUTSIDE
Hey, I love the sun. I mean it does make our planet inhabitable. I use the sun to grow things in a garden, and I really appreciate that I don't have to use a flashlight 24 hours a day. So yes, you can say I’m a fan.
BUT, and this is a BIG BUT. The sun has nasty side effects on your skin from UV. You might have even heard of the UV index, https://www.epa.gov/sunsafety/uv-index-scale-1
Okay, hang on while I get a bit geeky here. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation. The main source of UV radiation (rays) is the sun, although it can also come from man-made sources such as tanning beds, sun lamps and welding torches. And it adds up cumulatively throughout your lifetime which determines how much your skin is damaged.
This is why you can’t let the air temperature or cloud cover determine how much you protect your skin (more about this below). Just look at explorers in the sub zero climate of the Antarctic. Even those adventurous souls have to protect their skin (from UV and frostbite)!
HOW TO PAY ATTENTION TO UV AND ITS SOURCES
According to the American Cancer Society website, here are some tips about the sun.
The strength of the UV rays reaching the ground depends on a number of factors, such as:
● Time of day: UV rays are strongest between 10 am and 4 pm.
● Season of the year: UV rays are stronger during spring and summer months. This is less of a factor near the equator.
● Distance from the equator (latitude): UV exposure goes down as you get further from the equator.
● Altitude: More UV rays reach the ground at higher elevations (a thinner atmosphere filters less UV radiation leading to a 10-12% increase in UV at high altitude)
● Cloud cover: The effect of clouds can vary. Sometimes cloud cover blocks some UV from the sun and lowers UV exposure, while other types of clouds can reflect UV and increases UV exposure. What is important to know is that UV rays can get through, even on a cloudy day.
● Reflection off surfaces: UV rays can bounce off surfaces like water, sand, snow, pavement, or grass, leading to an increase in UV exposure.
***Also important to note: The amount of UV exposure a person gets depends on the strength of the rays, the length of time the skin is exposed, and whether the skin is protected with clothing or sunscreen.
THIS BLOG POST IS NOT MEANT TO BE FEAR MONGERING, BUT…
There is nothing more irritating than reading news or blog posts that are all about “The Sky is Falling… The Sky Is Falling.” Balance and some common sense are needed here. I want people to enjoy life, enjoy the great outdoors, and enjoy an active lifestyle. Safely. I moved to Summit County because of all the beauty, adventure, and outdoor “madness and mayhem” it offers. Can I get a hoo-rah?
Now, this doesn’t mean staying inside or covering up like a mummy. No need to be a vampire here, ok? So what is one to do?
Protecting your skin and your health means being educated and taking preemptive measures. Here are my top 3 ways to protect the skin you’re in:
1. Cover up with a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses at all times
2. Use SPF Sunscreen 50 or above in high altitude on any exposed area
3. And this is the one most people forget…. REAPPLY sunscreen as often as directed on the bottle. I personally set an alarm on my phone to remind me when it’s time to reapply.
FINAL WORDS HERE
As a licensed dermatology provider and your favorite “Derm Nerd”, my job is not to be your “Mommy” or the nag you are always trying to avoid. I’m here for you. People are spending billions of dollars a year to become more youthful in appearance and keep Father Time from stealing our sexiness.
Count me in on helping you do just that. Radiant and vibrant looking skin comes first from protecting it, and second from investing in maintaining it. Remember the car analogy earlier in the blog post? Just like the paint job on your car: you keep it out of hail storms, you wash it regularly, even apply a little wax to it every now and then. You probably even park it in a garage regularly. Why? Because you want to protect your investment and keep it looking as phenomenal as possible while you own it.
Just like your expensive paint job on your car, you need to protect your skin even more diligently.
Reality check: Unlike your car, you can’t trade your skin in every 5 years for a newer model. But you can Renew it. Get it? Renew? Yes this is why I started Renew Dermatology, to help you not only protect your skin, but provide services and solutions to reverse the natural damage that occurs due to the environments we all work, play and live in.
Bottom line: Please come up and enjoy the cooler mountain conditions, the changing of the trees, the refreshing mountain air. But do not forget to cover up and protect that precious skin of yours.
Spoiler Alert!!! Look for a new Derm Nerd Blog every week. Please sign up for my updates on the website and I’ll send you my new blog when it comes out.
Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Call Locally: 970.409.4000 Toll Free: 844-4-RENEWME