Health Care Question of the Month

In this Section

Question: How can I protect my skin from sun damage while still enjoying the outdoors? 

Set a good example for your children.


Enjoying some sun while at the beach or a backyard barbecue can feel good and invigorating, but you may not realize just how dangerous the sun can be to your health.  According to the American Academy of Dermatology, more than one million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed every year.

Many people mistake the changes to their skin—wrinkles, freckles and discoloration—as a normal part of the aging process. But these changes are actually the result of sun exposure.

The ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun damages the skin’s fibers. Over time, as the fibers, called elastin, deteriorate, the skin sags, stretches and loses it elasticity. It’s also more susceptible to bruises and tears.

Fortunately, because skin can sometimes repair itself, it’s never too late to start protecting yourself from the effects of the sun.

Practice these tips to decrease your risk of developing skin cancer and minimize skin damage.

Use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
  • Generously apply an SPF 30 sunscreen that includes protection for both UVA and UVB rays. Reapply at least every two hours and more often than that if you are in the water.
  • Avoid the sun when its rays are strongest, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If your shadow is shorter than you are, head indoors or at least find some shade.
  • Set a good example. Because 80 percent of a person’s lifetime sun expose occurs before age 18, it’s essential to explain the importance of wearing sunscreen to children early on.
  • Rely on healthy diet or a supplement to safely get the recommended amount of vitamin D.

When it’s caught early, skin cancer is very treatable, so be sure to carefully and thoroughly examine your skin every year. If you notice any irregularities, consult with a physician, like those at Columbia St. Mary’s dermatology department.

Contact our clinics below:

Gateway Medical Clinic 
801 South 70th Street
West Allis, WI 53214
(414) 773-6600

Glendale Clinic - Green Bay Road
9233 N. Green Bay Road
Brown Deer, WI 53209
(414) 298-8150

Madison Medical Affiliates – Menomonee Falls
N79 W14756 Appleton Avenue, Suite 200
Menomonee Falls, WI 53051
(262) 255-2112 

Madison Medical Affiliates – Milwaukee
Water Tower Medical Commons
2350 N. Lake Drive, Suite 300
Milwaukee, WI 53211
(414) 298-7100

Madison Medical Affiliates – Ozaukee
13133 N. Port Washington Road, Suite G18
Mequon, WI 53097
(262) 243-5000


Columbia St. Mary's

Site Map | Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Non-Discrimination Statement
Copyright © 2016 Columbia St. Mary's | Milwaukee, WI
Connect Healthcare CMS Solutions