By Steve Blanchard - June 09, 2021
The damaging radiation from the sun can impact anyone, including celebrities. On June 7, “Modern Family” star Jesse Tyler Ferguson posted a photo to Instagram with a caption saying he had “a bit of skin cancer” removed from his neck.
While the sun can cause damage any time of year, it is especially prevalent during the summer months now that people are vacationing, hitting the beach or lounging by the pool.
Remembering to sport sunblock is key to preventing skin cancers of all types, according to Dr. James Grichnik, a dermatologist at Moffitt Cancer Center who is also the chair of the University of South Florida’s Department of Dermatology & Cutaneous Surgery.
“It’s always important to think about sun safety and many of us simply throw on a baseball cap,” Grichnik said. “But wide-brimmed hats protect your ears and neck. It’s also important to cover the back of your arms and other hard-to-reach places.”
Asking a spouse or friend to assist with applying sunscreen is one way to ensure you are properly protected, Grichnik added. He also says that sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher offers the best protection, and recommends lotions rather than sprays.
“Sprays are convenient, but you can inhale some of those products, which you should avoid,” he said, adding that there are also wax based products that may be best for the face as they are less likely to drip into the eyes.
For Ferguson, the “Modern Family” star plans to follow doctors’ advice and use sunscreen moving forward.
“Don’t worry, I got it early and I’m gonna be just fine,” he posted. “And wear sunscreen! SPF 1,000 for me!”
In the Instagram photo, you can see a bandage covering a section of his neck just below his ear.
But just how much sunscreen is enough? It’s important to remember that you can’t really over-apply the product
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it takes about one ounce – or one shot glass full – of sunscreen to cover the entire body and a half a teaspoon to cover the face and neck. It’s also important to reapply sunscreen after swimming or sweating for a long period of time and to consider a water-resistant brand.
Always thoroughly rub the product into your skin for the best protection.
Follow these tips to make sure you stay protected while enjoying the summer sun.
- Use sunscreen! The easiest and most important way to protect yourself from skin cancer is by wearing sunscreen. Moffitt’s skin cancer experts recommend using an SPF of at least 30 and encourage you to reapply every two hours. Brands with physical blockers (zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide) are typically the best options, however any sunscreen is better than not wearing any. Remember to keep sunscreen with you at all times - in your purse, backpack or car - so if you end up outside when you hadn’t planned to be, you will always have access to this life-saving product.
- Wear protective clothing. Try to wear long sleeves and long pants to cover as much skin as possible when you’re out in the sun for long periods of time. Sun protective clothing is the best and safest option; however, any material is still a great option if you do not own any with sun protective fabric.
- Put on your hat. Wearing a wide brim hat is important to protect your face and neck. These areas are the most vulnerable as they are almost always exposed. Make sure your hat is made from tightly woven fabric so that the sun cannot peek through.
- Protect your lips. Many chap stick and lip balm brands make products with SPF. Look for an SPF 30 reference on the label to keep your lips safe from the sun.
- Grab some sunglasses. Your eyes can be severely damaged from the sun, so make sure to wear sunglasses when you’re outside. Your glasses should have UV blocking properties and fit your face well to help filter light through the lenses.