With summer approaching quickly, let’s tackle an important topic: sun protection. While the sun provides us with warmth, light, helps our bodies produce vitamin D, and can even help improve mood, the sun also has harmful UV rays. These rays, further classified into UVA and UVB rays, both contribute to the development of skin cancer, and UVA rays in particular have been found to cause the majority of skin aging. It’s extremely important to protect your skin from sun exposure.
Dangers of too much sun
Too much sun can have numerous negative health effects. First off is sunburn. Anyone who’s gone to the beach and forgotten their sunscreen can attest to this one. Sunburn is reddening of the skin due to sun exposure. Sunburn usually doesn’t show up till 4-5 hours after sun exposure, so once it’s there the damage has already been done. Sunburn and repeated sun exposure contributes to faster skin aging through the development of fine lines and wrinkles. Sun exposure can also harm your eyes. And repeated sun exposure and sunburn over the years can also contribute to the development of skin cancer. So, how do you protect yourself from the sun’s harmful effects?
Wearing sunscreen is your biggest line of defense against UV rays of the sun. Put on sunscreen whenever you’ll be out in the sun for more than a short time, even outside of summer. A common misconception is that you don’t need sunscreen during winter, spring, or fall. It’s true that the earth isn’t as close to the sun during those seasons, but that doesn’t mean prolonged exposure to the sun is harmless. Remember to reapply when necessary based on your particular brand of sunscreen’s instructions, as well as after swimming or other exposure to water. Look for sunscreen that has both UVA and UVB protection. Check out the SPF (sun protection factor) and aim for sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Finally, be sure to check the expiration date on your sunscreen so you can replace it when necessary.
Other things you can do to protect your skin from the sun
Limit being out under direct sun especially from the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the summer. Wearing long, loose clothing or better yet seek out clothing with UV protection. Wear a wide-brimmed hat or baseball cap to protect your face from direct sunlight, and wear UV protection sunglasses to keep your eyes safe as well.
So stay safe this summer season and throughout the year. If you have any concerns related to sun exposure or skin cancer, check us out at MD Avail for a telemedicine call.