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Your Skin Safety Checklist from Iredell Health System

What are you doing before you leave home today to protect yourself from skin cancer? We don’t hesitate to slather on sunscreen for a day at the pool or a trip to the beach, but Dr. Scott Paviol of Mooresville Dermatology Center says sun protection should be part of our daily routine.

“A tan is sun damage,” said Paviol. “A tan is DNA damage. Look at the underside of your forearm and flip it over and see the difference. You don’t have to be outside in the sun all day for the sun to have an effect on your skin."

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States and medical experts agree: the best way to prevent skin cancer is to protect yourself from exposure to harmful UV rays, whether from the sun or a tanning bed. Paviol says skin safety doesn’t have to be a hassle. He shared advice he gives to his patients and the routine he follows himself for skin cancer prevention.

Wear Sunscreen Every Day, All Year Long

Paviol recommends applying sunscreen before you begin your day, everyday, especially to the parts of your body that won’t be covered by clothing, like your face, neck, ears and lips.

“The warmth you feel while you’re driving, that’s radiation,” he said. “Your car windows don’t protect you from UV-A rays, which can cause aging and skin cancer.”

He also recommends using a broad spectrum sunscreen with physical blockers, like zinc and titanium, as well as chemical blockers to provide protection from UV-A and UV-B rays, and buying sunscreen with an SPF of 30 higher.

“It’s important to realize that we don’t apply sunscreen as well as scientists do in a lab and so you may only be getting a third of that protection,” said Paviol. “That’s why using a sunscreen with a higher SPF is better. If you use a spray as opposed to lotion, make sure you rub it into your skin. If you’re outside for more than an hour, you need to reapply every hour.”

Wear Sun Protective Clothing

Using sun protective clothing and gear like tents and umbrellas will save you the trouble of having to reapply sunscreen to most of your body.

“For me, sunscreen is always a backup,” said Dr. Paviol. “I’m like a lot of people, I don’t want to have to reapply sunscreen all day if I’m outside. If I’m at the beach, I’m wearing a hat, a long-sleeved shirt, sitting under an umbrella and having a great time.”

Never Use Tanning Beds

Tanning beds are a big no-no, according to Paviol and groups like the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to one statistic from the AAD, using tanning beds can increase your risk of the deadliest type of skin cancer, melanoma, by 59%.

“Studies have shown that tanning beds are addictive,” added Paviol. “Tanning releases endorphins, makes you feel good. Once you start doing it you are more likely to keep doing it.”

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Paviol, contact Mooresville Dermatology Center at 704-235-1837 or find a provider at

Categories: General News