Abstract colored firework background used for overlay new year festival.

In the heat of the summer and with the Fourth of July weekend approaching, it’s a good time to remind one another about the importance of protecting our faces and skin during this time of the year.

Washington University Facial Plastic Surgery Center physicians Dr. Gregory Branham, Dr. John Chi and Dr. Emily Spataro want everyone to enjoy this fun time of the year but to also exercise caution and be safe.

Celebrate safely

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, “on average 280 people go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the Fourth of July holiday.” In 2017, 14 percent of these injuries were eye-related, and 22 percent were to the head, face and ears.

As fellowship-trained plastic surgeons, the Facial Plastic Surgery Center physicians are trained to treat patients who undergo these types of injuries, which can often involve multiple reconstructive surgeries.

Avoiding fireworks or leaving them to the professionals are your best options to keep yourself and family safe from serious burns or injuries. But if you choose to use fireworks at home, follow these safety tips recommended by the Consumer Product Safety Commission:

• Always have adult supervision and keep children away from fireworks.

• Wear protective eyewear such as goggles.

• Never relight fireworks or handle those that are not fully ignited. If it is a “dud,” soak it in a bucket of water.

• Keep a bucket of water or hose on hand for emergencies.

• Never point or throw fireworks at a person.

• Light fireworks one at a time and move away quickly.

Protecting our skin from the rays

With sunny, hot days upon us, the reminder to wear sunscreen and limit our exposure to the sun may feel a bit repetitive. But these are some of the best ways to ensure we protect our skin from sun damage and reduce the risk of skin cancer.

The importance of a sunscreen that provides broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB is the most effective. It should also be SPF15 or greater. We can also protect our skin and eyes by wearing a wide-brim hat, UV-blocking sunglasses and clothing.

Finally, make sure you minimize sun exposure when the risk of sunburn is the greatest by seeking shaded areas during the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

On the road

Whether you are taking a road trip during these warm months or it’s just a daily drive, you should still ensure you are protected from the sun. Even with your windows up, you can be exposed to harmful UV radiation.

Dr. Branham says their practice sees a lot of skin cancer on the face, particularly the left side, where drivers experience increased sun exposure.

“Using caution and being prepared for the sun even in the car is worth the extra preparation,” he adds.

Beating the heat

With the hotter temperatures during the summer months, we also experience more sweat and humidity. Reapplying sunscreen more frequently is critical to protecting our skin.

We may also need to wash our faces more often to protect our skin from the oils that lead to blemishes and scarring.

If you are already seeing sun spots and scarring from breakouts, you may want to talk to the physicians at the Facial Plastic Surgery Center to schedule a consultation on the benefits of a chemical peel or dermabrasion.

The Facial Plastic Surgery Center hopes you enjoy these summer days and the holidays, but use caution and stay safe.

For more information or to schedule a consultation with our physicians, call 314-996-3880 or click here.