With more than 76,000 Americans diagnosed with melanoma every year, dermatologist Dr. Flor Mayoral recommends Miami residents stock up on sunscreen this summer. Latin Beat caught up with Dr. Mayoral at the L’Oreal Paris Summer Beauty Launch held at Casa Tua last week to discuss who should be using sun protection, what do the SPF numbers really mean, and how women can incorporate sunscreen into their beauty routines.
Miamians can’t hide from the sun. How can we protect ourselves this summer?
“You should apply sunscreen before you go out everyday. This message is especially important to Hispanics because we tend to think we are innately immune from the ravages of ultraviolet radiation so we have a tendency not to apply sunscreen. This is a huge mistake.
People who have fair skin and light features have been taught their whole lives the importance of protecting themselves from the sun. Whereas Hispanics, especially those with darker skin tones and features, are getting moles checked a lot later resulting in a diagnosis at a later stage and with a more severe prognosis than their lighter skinned counterparts. Due to this, the death rate for Hispanics from melanoma are rising.
Just because you have the ability to get a dark tan doesn’t mean that you should. You’re damaging your skin, making it look older faster, and increasing your chances of melanoma.”
People can get intimidated by the various levels of SPF protection available. What does it all mean?
“The higher the number of SPF means you have a longer period of time to sit in the sun with protection. But what a lot of people fail to do is reapply sunscreen to maintain that level of protection. When you purchase sunblock, make sure you read the label and follow their instructions.
There are studies that show that another problem is that people don’t apply sunscreen properly; not enough is applied. So people who purchase SPF at the 30 or 50 level end up getting the protection of only SPF 15 because they don’t put enough.
It is important that people purchase products at the right level for them, that they reapply as directed on the label, and that they put enough on to get the maximum protection from the harmful rays of the sun.”
It’s summertime and people want to even out their skin tone or add a little color. What is the safest way to do this?
“Use self tanner or go for a spray tan. Never, ever, ever go into a tanning bed or booth. I can’t express to people enough how terrible that is. This is a way to get wrinkled skin and heaven-forbid a melanoma. It’s very sad when I get patients who have gotten melanomas this way because it’s preventable.”