Why Wear Sunscreen When It’s Cloudy?


The Germain Dermatology team takes skin health very seriously, which is why our dermatologists encourage men, women, and children alike to stay alert throughout the winter to minimize their risk of skin cancer. Charleston, SC, has its share of cold, cloudy days, but do not be fooled into thinking that a hidden sun means the danger of ultraviolet radiation is hidden, too.
Fortunately, rain and cold weather tend to prompt people into covering up, but any exposed skin is still at risk of being harmed by the sun if exposed to the sky—overcast or not. Invisible ultraviolet radiation is not stopped by cloud cover, meaning it continues to impact everything it hits, including faces, hands, arms, scalps, and more.
Damage can appear as everything from premature signs of aging (including wrinkles, spots, and more) to cancerous lesions that may require surgery to remove.
Prevention is the best way to stay healthy and beautiful, so be sure to wear sunscreen when going outside, whether the skies are blue or gray.
Remember, too, that not all sunscreens are the same, so be sure to find one that is both effective (minimum SPF 30) and feels comfortable on the skin. There are non-greasy formulas and other options, eliminating any excuse used to try to get out of wearing a protective layer. Your sunscreen should contain a physical block.  Zinc oxide is the best.
As during the summer months, when sunscreen is often at the top of everyone’s mind, apply it about half an hour prior to going outside to be sure it has time to start working properly. Also, remember that sunscreen loses its effectiveness over time after it has been applied—and even more quickly if water washes it away. Re-apply as necessary.
Being sun-smart all year round can do wonders for the look and health of your skin.
Find out more about preventing, diagnosing, and treating skin cancer in the Charleston, SC area by calling Germain Dermatology at (843) 881-4440 or sending a message online.

When does a mole become suspicious looking? What do you do?

Your skin remembers sun exposure from the time you were a baby. It accumulates and shows up in later years.

Dr. Germain recommends people begin routine check ups in their 20s, especially if there is a family history of skin cancer. 

Patients visiting the dermatologist for the first time will go through a full-body screening.

“We check them from head to toe,” Dr. Germain says they also teach patients how to do a self-check by “standing in front of a full-length mirrors with no clothes on, look at the front of them, back of them, underarms, private area, palms, soles, everywhere.”

Don’t forget to check your head. Have your hair dresser check when you go to the salon next. What should be looking for?

Dr. Germain says spots that are brown, black, red, or flesh-colored. Women should also be checked when they visit their OB/GYN.

“Anything that is changing, growing, bleeding, not healing,” Dr. Germain says should be checked by a doctor.

Other skin cancer signs and symptoms include areas that itch and stand out.

Video story courtesy of WCBD-TV and reporter Laura Smith.

Call us for your skin check in Summerville or Mount Pleasant (843)881-4440.