South Charlotte

Session will focus on sun-damaged skin

It's hard to believe we are at the end of July. Before we know it, we'll be putting up our holiday decorations. For now I'll do my best to enjoy what's left of these lazy summer days.

Barbecues and relaxing outside with friends and family; soaking in all that these months have to offer – especially the sun.

Thankfully our weather hasn't been a lot like last year with those insane temperatures putting us over the 100-degree mark day after day. This somewhat cooler weather enables us to enjoy the summertime a bit more, and perhaps that is part of the problem.

You see, the nice Charlotte weather puts us outdoors a lot more than folks in other parts of the country. Being outside in the sunshine with or without proper sun protection makes us all prone to premature aging. And who wants that?

That being said, are you applying your sunscreen? If you are, are you using enough? And if you aren't … well, shame on you.

Thursday, we all have the chance to see just what the sun has done to us, through a Ladies Night event at Piedmont Plastic Surgery and Dermatology (corner of Ardrey Kell and Rea roads).

Hosted by the staff of Piedmont Plastic Surgery and our favorite gals at Potion, the evening is sure to be informative and eye opening. The eye-opening part will be courtesy of UV photos of our faces to show just how sun damaged we are. (Not exactly Christmas card material.)

Thankfully, once we are fully appalled at how our mixture of baby oil and iodine turned our skin into leather, we'll be able to gather information on how to prevent further damage and correct current problems.

Dr. Patrick McElgunn, one of the dermatologists hosting the evening, told me he sees “way more sun damage in the South.” The biggest culprit, according to McElgunn, is our nice weather. On triple-digit days, few are outside. But when we have those beautiful days, and we do have a lot of them, we try and spend as much time outdoors as we can. And therein lies the problem.

Many people think that because they are not lying in the sun, they aren't prone to its damaging effects. In fact that's the biggest misconception. As McElgunn put it, “The sun doesn't care what position you're in.”

In short, if you're going to be outside, you need to be properly protected.

We all slather lotion on our children, but we're not so meticulous when it comes to ourselves. McElgunn reminded me that the average person should use one ounce (that's a shot glass full) of sunscreen per application. So your four-ounce bottle of sunscreen should provide you with no more than four applications. How many years have you had that same bottle of Coppertone?

Not using enough sunscreen gives us a false sense of security, which equates to more unprotected time in the sun.

McElgunn also told me that the increase in sun-damaged skin is further due to lifestyle changes over the years. How many times do we remember our parents taking sunny vacations? Compare that to how often we take them.

Now that we're all convinced we haven't been doing enough to help our body's largest organ, this Thursday we can learn how to right that ship.

So whether you have basic questions on sun damage prevention or want to learn more about Botox, laser resurfacing, Restylane injections or other skin-related issues, this evening is for you.

Potion's esthetician, Vivian Santiago, will be there, too, discussing her menu of facial offerings as well as providing hot paraffin hand treatments. Potion will also have on hand a sampling of products that complement a good skin regimen.

Also offered are door prizes, special pricing and giveaways.