Knowing the needs of our skin is essential to protect it. As the dermatological characteristics are particular to each individual, personalized treatment is the recommendation that a specialist with years of experience, such as Dr. Néstor Santana, an HPS dermatologist, provides to prevent the increasingly frequent problems derived from excess exposure to the skin in the sun.
The appearance of dark spots, skin aging and diseases such as melanoma (one of the most serious types of skin cancer) have led dermatologists to warn us for years to be careful when exposed to the sun. However, the king star fulfills important functions for our body, so maintaining a "healthy relationship" with the sun's rays brings important benefits. Dr. Néstor Santana, a dermatologist at HPS, is clear: this healthy relationship implies knowing very well what our skin is like in order to choose how to protect it because, ultimately, "it is our barrier to the outside world and is subject to constant aggression."
The HPS specialist recognizes that, for example, vitamin D is important for calcium metabolism and even to prevent other types of cancer, so excluding sun exposure is a mistake. Of course, if we want to enjoy the outdoors, an already well-known recommendation is necessary: protect the skin.
"We should not use the same photoprotector for the whole family, each member would have to apply their own treatment against the sun"
It is common to find information where one product or another is trusted as the best skin prevention treatment. But, "the most appropriate method is personalized protection," highlights Dr. Santana, who adds that "behind general recommendations there may be a series of commercial interests to promote the consumption of creams, so people end up falling for it" .
A protector for each member of the family
For the Canarian doctor, "the most important thing is that the dermatologist recommends what we should apply" based on the needs of each patient's skin. That is, "individualized treatments", because each one has its own characteristics. For example, there are photoprotectors for dry skin, with makeup, mists, sprays or traditional creams. Thus, given the differences in skin types, "we should not use the same photoprotector for the whole family, each member would have to apply their own treatment against the sun."
It is also a primary duty to protect children's skin. “It is at an early age when our skin accumulates more damage from the sun”, so children must be more prepared with maximum protection. Even babies less than six months old should not be exposed to radiation.
Does the photoprotector expire from one year to the next?
Another of the doubts that the HPS doctor clarifies is related to the expiration of the treatments that we usually buy in summer to protect ourselves: The most advisable thing is to “renew annually” the products that we use to protect ourselves from rays. And it is that these treatments can lose the effectiveness of the chemical filters they contain.
"We have never operated on as many cases of skin cancer as now," says the HPS dermatologist, who reminds us not to lower our guard.
As general recommendations to take care of our skin, the specialist at the Canarian hospital calls for the use of mild soaps so that the skin, which is the largest organ of our body by surface area and weight, does not lose its natural protection capacity. When showering, we should avoid doing it with water that is too hot to preserve the lipid layer in the same way. Meanwhile, if we use day cream, he advises that this product has photoprotection, apply it daily and not mix it with other types of cream.
Skin cancer prevention
All these tips are focused on preventing the most frequent cancer, skin cancer, which, without a doubt, is what most worries specialists. Also to society in general because "people are becoming more aware." However, today the consultations are full of patients, aged 50 and 60, who lived their childhood in a time when unprotected sunbathing was encouraged. "We have never operated on as many cases for skin cancer as now," says the HPS dermatologist, who reminds us that we must not lower our guard because, due to advances, our life expectancy has increased, we continue to expose ourselves to the sun "and the chances of developing skin cancer are very high.
"Going to the dermatology consultation is essential to prevent, especially if we notice spots or changes in size of moles"
Going to the dermatology consultation is essential to prevent, especially if we notice any changes in our body such as spots or changes in the size of moles, for example. To this adds Dr. Santana that there are more vulnerable parts of the body, those that are more exposed to the sun: hands, face, neckline... "these are areas that have to be protected in a special way because that is where more cases of cancer appear.
The sun and clothes in summer
Wearing hats or caps, as well as sunglasses, must also be essential to avoid burns when playing sports, living on the beach or working outdoors where we are highly exposed to radiation. "It influences everything: the color of the clothes, the fabrics and even if the clothes are wet or dry." In the case of garments, the acronym UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) is a rating that indicates the amount of radiation that a garment blocks. The maximum is UPF 50+ and prevents the filtering of more than 98% of UVA and UVB rays.