The months of March and April are some of the busiest in Florida. The air is cool and light, the waters are pristine, and the rainy season is still at bay. The great weather also brings us the West Palm Beach International Boat Show, the Renaissance festival, and various other arts, food and wine events in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando, and Naples. Additionally, hundreds of college students from all over the county are hitting the South Florida beaches this month for spring break. It’s an exciting time to be in Florida! Regardless of whether on not it is spring break season; Floridians can get a suntan almost all 365 days of the year. Although it’s great to be able to have a beach day any day of the week, bariatric surgeon, Dr. Kahlil Shillingford, reminds us that it’s important to be mindful when we are spending time out in the sun.
Within the first few minutes of contact with your skin, the sunshine triggers the brain to release endorphins (those “feel good” chemical signals that curb pain and improve your mood). Sun rays seep into the skin and are take in by special cells called melanocytes. These cells take the majority of the DNA damaging effects of the UVA and UVB rays from the sun. This also prompts the production of Vitamin D, an important nutrient for the body’s immune system. If you have no sun protection on, within 30 minutes the skin turns red because melanocytes are self-destructing, causing blood vessels to dilate so that immune cells can rush to the surface of the skin for support. Those melanocytes that manage to survive, release melanin (this is the color you see when you tan) as a way to shield themselves from further damage.
The immune response elicited by the suns rays leads to a suppressed immune system in the hours that follow prolonged sun. This effect makes the body vulnerable to infection and explains why people who tend to get cold sores are more likely to get one at this time. Additionally, UVA rays can damage collagen and elastin, those connective tissues that keep the skin supple. Once gone, they don’t comeback! The results are premature aging, sagging and wrinkles. The bottom line? Reapply sunscreen SPF 45+ every 2 hours anytime you are in the sun (this includes driving in the car!) Taking care of your body from the inside out and the outside in is part of any weight loss journey. If you choose to embrace the Florida sun responsibly, your skin will thank you for years to come.
Dr. Kahlil Shillingford is a board certified surgeon who specializes in bariatric or weight loss surgery including the Sleeve Gastrectomy (Gastric Sleeve), Gastric Bypass, and Lap-Band procedures. His patients come from across the state of Florida including Miami, Fort Lauderdale West Palm Beach, and Naples. To learn more about Dr. Shillingford’s integrative weight loss surgeries and all-inclusive fees please call his office in Boca Raton, Florida at (561) 483-8840.