PINE BELT (WDAM) - It's summertime, and that means people getting outside and usually showing more skin, but experts say people need to be more cautious of their health when looking for that ideal summer body.
Doctors say when wanting to look your best, you must be mindful of the steps you take to get there.
Plastic Surgeon William Reno, with the Plastic Surgery Center of Hattiesburg, said while he wants people to be the best them they can be, people must always beware of "quick fixes."
"Don't fall into the quick fix trap," Reno said. "If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is."
Reno said with the rise of social media, things aren't always what they seem before and after surgery.
"What you see on TV and social media, there's a lot that goes behind the scenes that they're not telling you," said Reno.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, patients need to make sure they select a board-certified and licensed surgeon.
Patients also need to be aware of bargains. Severely discounted rates could mean a cut in costs to properly trained staff.
Visit plasticsurgery.org for more information on how to avoid common mistakes when selecting your plastic surgeon.
"The simple answer: just do your research," Reno said. "Don't believe everything you see on social media."
Overall, Reno said health must be a priority, such as getting enough rest, drinking plenty of water and having a healthy diet, which are all things that many people can control themselves.
But what about the things that people can't control?
Dermatology Nurse Practitioner Sarah Kelly said people in the south are more prone to wanting to be outside due to the weather, but she said that puts people at a higher risk for skin cancer.
"Every once in a while, we'll have a young person in their teens or twenties that has a melanoma," Kelly said. "We have well-documented evidence that the sun burns increase your chance for melanoma."
With the south usually trending with warmer weather, Kelly said those who try to avoid the burn of sun but head to tanning beds to get that bronze look should be cautious.
According to a study by the American Academy of Dermatology, most beds could be harmful due to UVA bulbs causing even deeper skin damage.
Research shows that a tan is considered a sign of skin damage where the skin is working to protect itself from UVA rays by producing more melanin.
Excessive exposure can lead to premature skin aging, immune suppression and eye damage.
Kelly said long-term effects could include skin cancer.
She said if you are looking for a summer glow, then there are safer alternatives.
"A person that wants a glow for a wedding or a beach event might prefer to use a spray tan," said Kelly.
Kelly said the best way to protect your skin is to simply apply sunscreen consistently throughout the day and to make sure to have yearly skin examinations.
"We would leave undergarments on, we would put you into a gown and just look at you from head to toe," she said.
Kelly said it's all about further educating the patient about their body.
"We want you to become familiar with your skin lesions, and if somethings growing or changing that's a big indicator that you need to come get it checked," she said.
Both Kelly and Reno agree that whether you choose to go the medical or non-medical route, there are always options to achieve the look you've always wanted that's also beneficial to your health.