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The 3 Ps of California Summer Sun Care for Your Skin

Posted on: May 13th, 2024 by Our Team

California women get praise in pop songs for their tans. “The West Coast has the sunshine and the girls all get so tan,” the Beach Boys famously sang in their 60s song, “California Girls.” About 40 years later, Katy Perry boasted in her song about the “sun-kissed skin” of “California Gurls.”

But would these performers sing the praises of tanning when a Californian’s skin turns wrinkly and leathery, marred with sun spots and scarred from the removal of skin cancer tumors?

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. And as our famous California sun heats up, it’s time for some truth talk about protecting your skin from the sun whatever your gender, race or age.

California Sun and Skin: 3 Examples of Old Think vs. New Think

  1. Old think: A tan is glamorous and attractive.
    New think: A tan is a sign your skin has been injured.
  2. Old think: Sunscreen makes your face look pasty and pale.
    New think: Sunscreens are formulated to provide sheer, invisible protection.
  3. Old think: Perfect beachwear is a bikini and a baseball cap.
    New think: Perfect beachwear is a long-sleeved SPF 50 swim shirt and a wide-brimmed hat.

Protect, Prevent, Persevere

California Skin Institute’s board-certified dermatologists, surgeons, nurses and aestheticians know how to expertly repair sun damaged skin. It’s a vital part of our work here in California where people play tennis, golf, hike and surf year round. We can laser away lines and sunspots, perform facelifts for wrinkles and go into full cancer treatment mode for skin cancer treatment.

But the truth is, as medical care practitioners, we would like to see you preempt needing any treatment by practicing our three Ps of California sun protection.


Sunny season runs long in California, starting around May and lasting into October. Longer days come packaged with brighter sun and more intense heat for higher ultraviolet light exposure risk.

Here’s how to protect yourself:

  • Hide from the sun between the peak hours of 11 a.m. to 5 pm. If you’re outside, stay in the shade of a tree or beach umbrella. Shield your face under a hat with a brim of at least 4 inches all around and big sunglasses.
  • Slather good quality sunscreen all over at least 20 minutes before sun exposure. Reapply every couple of hours. Don’t forget bits like your ears, nose and toes!
  • Cover your skin when possible with long-sleeved shirts, ankle-length pants or skirts and closed-toe shoes. White cotton pants, espadrilles and long-sleeved tees can give protection while still maintaining a nice, summery vibe. Also consider long-sleeved SPF 50 swim shirts.


Skin cancer is mostly preventable and very treatable if caught early. But if left undetected, it can kill you. Most skin cancer deaths result from melanoma, which nearly 20 Americans die from each day.

Skin cancers of all type make up nearly half of all cancers diagnosed in the U.S., affecting 1 in 5 people over their lifetimes. Although basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are less fatal, prompt treatment is vital, because as a tumor grows, it becomes more dangerous and potentially disfiguring, requiring more extensive treatment.

Skin cancer warning signs to look out for include changes in size, shape, or color of a mole or skin tag, the appearance of a new growth on the skin, or a sore that doesn’t heal. If you notice any spots on your skin that are different from others, or anything changing, itching, or bleeding, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you make an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist.

Unlike other preventive screenings such as bone density or a colonoscopy, a skin cancer screening involves no medical imaging tools. No MRI or CT scan is needed. All that is required is the trained eye of your board-certified CSI dermatologist and a magnifying glass.

The primary sites for skin cancers include:

  • Face
  • Scalp
  • Ears
  • Nose
  • Arms
  • Legs
  • Chest
  • Back


We get it. The sun on your skin feels good. Fabric covering your skin, not so much. And it’s annoying to have to reapply sunscreen every few hours. Awkward to have a big floppy hat on your head at all times. Especially if it’s windy and you need to use that chin strap. Sunglasses with wide ear pieces to protect the skin around your eyes may not be the most stylish. Persevere. Your future self will thank you. Your perseverance is the key to your skin health and beauty now and in the years to come.

Let us help you with this. We can develop a personal sun care plan for you that can include optimal sunscreen formulations, sun damage repair and skin cancer screenings. Schedule an appointment today.

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