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Posts Tagged ‘Sun Protection’

Sun Protection. By Our April Student Pharmacist, Mark Borns.

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With spring here and summer right around the corner, many people are more active outside with increased exposure to the sun’s harmful rays. Before making the mistake of spending the day outside, there is important information to understand about risks from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation and how to protect yourself.

The increased popularity of outdoor activities and recreations in recent years is strongly related to the increased incidence in skin cancer. Staying in the sunlight too long is widely accepted as the cause and experts believe that four out of five cases of skin cancer could be prevented by avoiding UV radiation.

The best way to protect your skin is to make sun protection part of your daily routine. Here are some methods and tips to utilize before spending your next day outside.

Clothing

  • Wearing protective clothing is a great method to prevent exposure to the sun.
  • A wide brimmed hat can help block the sun from your face.
  • Long pants and shirts can cover much of the body’s otherwise exposed skin.
  • Tightly woven, light colored, lightweight fabrics will provide the most comfort and protection.

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Sunscreen

Wearing protective sunscreens is a must for exposed skin. Sunscreen provides a barrier that reflects UV radiation and prevents damage to the skin. Sunscreens or sunblocks are available as lotions, sprays, wax sticks, and creams.

When choosing a sunscreen, the FDA recommends using at least SPF 15 and coverage from both UVA and UVB rays. Check the label to ensure that the ingredients are listed as broad spectrum.

Some sunscreens are labeled as water-resistant. Keep in mind that this does not mean waterproof. Water-resistant sunscreens can stay on the skin longer even if you are in a pool or sweat, but they still need to be reapplied. Check the label for directions.

Typically sunscreen should be applied 30 minutes before going outside so there is time for it to absorb or soak into the skin. Then reapply every two hours while outside. Remember to apply sunscreen to commonly forgotten spots such as ears, lips, back of the neck, and tops of feet.

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Sunglasses

  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes. Look for lenses labeled with 100% protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Darker lenses do not always mean more protection so be sure to check before your purchase.
  • Be careful with children, as toy sunglasses may not offer adequate protection.
  • Large, wraparound sunglasses are best because they cover the entire eye socket and they are especially helpful when around water where UV rays are being reflected back.

Sun protection is most effective when each of these methods are combined. So make sure that you have long clothing, a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect your skin. Follow these methods this season and in the future to help keep your skin healthy and reduce your risk of developing skin cancer.

References:

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Sun Protection. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/radiation-emittingproducts/radiationemittingproductsandprocedures/tanning/ucm116445.htm. Accessed April 18, 2016.

Sun protection. World Health Organization. Available at: http://www.who.int/uv/sun_protection/en/. Accessed April 18, 2016.