To help prevent skin damage and skin cancer, sun protection is essential. Health studies and statistics show that 85 percent of melanomas, skin cancers, are associated with exposure to harmful UV rays from the sun. Take at some things you can do to protect yourself from skin damage.
Sunscreens are products made with ingredients that help prevent ultraviolet rays (UV) from penetrating your skin. All sunscreens have an SPF rating (Sun Protection Factor) that measures the ability of the sunscreen to prevent harmful UV rays from damaging the skin. In most cases, an SPF 15 or higher will be adequate to protect your skin, but an SPF 30 will protect you longer. Here’s how an SPF rating works: If it takes 30 minutes for your skin to start turning red in the sun, a sunscreen with an SPF 15 will protect you 15 times longer – in this case 7.5 hours. However, all sunscreens, regardless of SPF factors should be reapplied about every two hours. You should choose a sunscreen that meets your outdoor needs, and if you have sensitive skin or allergies, look for a good chemical free sunscreen.
When you’re outdoors, your clothing is the first line of defense against the sun’s harmful UV rays. Your clothing can actually absorb or block UV rays to protect your skin. The more skin you cover, the more protection you have. Although long pants and a long-sleeved shirt may unbearable on a hot summer day, it will protect you from skin damage. Cover up as much as possible and wear a broad-brimmed hat, three inches or larger, to protect your face, ears and the back of your neck. Make sure you wear a pair of quality sunglasses with UV protection to protect your eyes. Over time, the sun’s rays can cause serious damage to your eyes and the skin surrounding them. Constant sun exposure can lead to vision loss, cataracts, macular degeneration, and cancers of the eye and eyelid.
Babies, toddlers and young children have very sensitive skin, so sun protection is extremely important. Kids love to play outdoors, but make sure they’re protected with sunscreen and proper clothing. According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, sustaining five or more sunburns in your youth increases your lifetime melanoma risk by 80 percent. If you’re a parent, be extra vigilant about sun protection for your kids at all times.