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Keep the sizzle on stage at the country music fest

Health
Friends dancing among bright sunbeams

Don’t let a painful sunburn be your lasting memory from this year’s Carolina Country Music Fest in Myrtle Beach. The only thing sizzling should be the musical performances – not your skin.
Slathering a layer of sunscreen on your shoulders and arms just before the festival isn’t enough to adequately protect yourself against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, especially if you are planning to hang out for hours to catch your beloved performers. Even if skies are overcast, clouds only block up to 20 percent of UV rays, so sunscreen is still crucial.
“With all the excitement around the music festival, it can be easy to forget about sunscreen until you’ve already started to experience a sunburn,” says Dr. William Jackson Epperson, a board-certified family medicine physician with Tidelands Health, the official health care system of the Carolina Country Music Fest. “That’s not only a concern for your health, but can put a serious damper on your fun.”
Set the stage for a rocking experience at the festival by applying sunscreen 20 to 30 minutes before heading outdoors, says Dr. Epperson, who specializes in skin lesions and skin cancer at Tidelands Health Family Medicine at Prince Creek. A sunscreen with a broad-spectrum protection (SPF) of at least 30 provides sufficient protection.

Apply and reapply

Check the expiration date on your sunscreen because they can lose their effectiveness over time. When applying, be sure to rub the product into the skin thoroughly, says Dr. Epperson. Re-application is important, especially when perspiring in the heat, he says. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours when outdoors (festival-goers are permitted to bring in bottles of sunscreen to use at the event).
And it’s important to hit more than just your arms, shoulders and nose. Make sure to apply protection to all areas of your skin subject to the sun, including your forehead, ears, scalp, tops of your feet (depending on footwear) and around your eyes and movable straps and waistbands.

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Remember that repeated sunburns increase your risk for skin cancer development. Your risk for melanoma doubles if you’ve had more than five sunburns, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
“Radiation damage is cumulative,” Dr. Epperson said. “The more you suffer sun damage to your skin, the greater your risk of skin cancer.”
In addition to wearing sunscreen, Dr. Epperson suggests people wear sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection and a floppy, wide-brimmed hat. Loose-fitting, light-colored clothing is best for reflecting the sun’s rays and, if you are able, consider seeking shade, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun’s rays peak.
Learn more about the Carolina Country Music Fest, scheduled from June 6-9, by going here. Find more useful information to help you prepare here. 

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