Mistakes your Patients may be Making
- Posted on: Feb 15 2017
None of us would think it is wise to hop in the car and drive down the road on flat tires. And yet, this could be exactly the way that one goes about protecting him or herself from UV damage: half-hearted, to say the least.
According to research, even those who are religious about their sunscreen use could be making quite a few common mistakes. Seeing that approximately 90% of non-melanoma skin cancers originate with exposure to the sun or other UV light, these seemingly small mistakes could be a much bigger threat than imagined. The more we know about these potential pitfalls of protection, the better we can serve each patient.
Sunscreen is the norm, but . . .
To little is applied
We discussed this in a recent blog about sunscreen that many people misunderstand what SPF is really capable of, and where it falls short. Patients need to be directed to apply about a shot-glass worth of product to cover all exposed skin. The face alone should be covered with approximately one teaspoon of sunscreen.
Application is infrequent
A misperception of SPF could once again cause issues with application. Terminology like “long-acting” and “sweatproof” also lend to the perception that sunscreen application is a once-and-done type of practice. Patients must understand that sunscreen should be applied half an hour before sun exposure, and then reapplied in 2-hour intervals. It is also important to stress to patients that reapplication is necessary after swimming or sweating profusely, regardless of being within that 2-hour window.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, broad-spectrum sunscreen has “the right stuff” to adequately protect the skin from both UVA and UVB light. This term is more important than looking for a high SPF product, but many consumers still believe that all the power lies in those three little letters. For further details on sunscreen claims and how to help your patient distinguish the good from the not-so-good, review our November blog post on this very topic.
The American Society for Mohs Surgery supports you in your practice and your ability to provide patients with the highest standard of care. Learn more about our course offerings at (714) 379-6262.