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Posted on: June 20, 2019

Reduce the Chances of a Cancer Scare with Skin Protection 101

Skin protection SPF30

The Beatles sang “Here comes the sun (doo doo doo),” but DON’T get too much of those warm rays. Being out in the sun can be invigorating and is even good for our mental health and wellbeing. However, each time your skin is exposed to the sun without protection adds to the damage that could lead to skin cancer. In addition, leathery skin, dark spots and wrinkles may also result from harmful exposure.

No single method of sun defense can properly protect you. Here are some safety tips to add to your daily sun guard routine:

  • Cover Up! Clothing provides a great barrier against the sun’s UV rays. New breathable fabrics may offer high-tech protection. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to shade your face and neck. Sunglasses protect your eyes and the skin around them. Clothing may still leave some skin exposed, so use sunscreen too (don’t forget the back of your hands).
  • Find some shade! Catch some shade between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., the peak hours of sun intensity. Try to walk on the shady side of the street, sit under an umbrella or tree. Some UV rays can still reach our skin even in shade – put on sun screen.
  • Know your sunscreen! Different types include:
    1. Broad Spectrum: Sunscreen containing ingredients which effectively protect against UVA rays and UVB.
    2. Water Resistance: Can be resistant to water for either 40 or 80 minutes. Reapplying when going in and out of the water is key.
    3. SPF (sun protection factor): Tells how long it would take UV rays to redden your skin using sunscreen compared to the amount of time without sunscreen. Using an SPF-30 means it would take 30 times longer to burn your skin than if you weren’t wearing sunscreen. Apply creams as directed; reapplying after 2 hours or after sweating or swimming.
    4. Sensitive skin: Products containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are less likely to cause skin irritation in people who have sensitive skin.
  • Beware of windows! Windows still allow UVA rays to pass through. Car windshields are treated to protect drivers from most UVA rays; but side and back windows and sunroofs usually are not.

Skin protection UVA and UVB

Did you know…when either UVB or UVA light hits unprotected skin, it damages the DNA in skin cells within minutes! Your immune system repairs some of the damage, but not all of it. Over time, the remaining DNA damage can cause mutation which leads to skin cancer. 

The more skin coverage you have the better! For more information about protecting your skin from the sun, visit the Mayo Clinic for some great tips!

Walgreens commercial show skin damage under black light.

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