Protection from the sun is very important all year around but especially during summer months when you are more susceptible to sun damage. As summer moves into full swing, people are spending more time outdoors. With vacations, trips to the beach, and lounging by the pool, it is important to protect your skin from sun damage and UV rays since you’re spending more time than usual in the sun. Although exposure to the sun is recommended as it’s our primary source of Vitamin D, moderation is key. July is UV Safety Month and a great time to learn about some of the best ways to protect yourself in the sun!
Ways to Prevent UV Damage
The number one tip to prevent UV damage is to use sunscreen. Using a high SPF (at minimum SPF 30) and making sure to cover your entire body is key. It takes about 7 teaspoons of sunscreen to cover all of your skin. Sunscreen needs to reapplied every two hours, more often if you’re swimming or sweating.
Wear protective clothing. Not all clothing provides the same amount of protection from the sun. It is quite possible to get sunburn through your clothes. Loose-fitting clothing like long-sleeved cotton shirts or pants in darker colors will provide you with better protection from harmful UV rays. Wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses are also beneficial for protecting your scalp and shading your face while also protecting your vision.
There are companies which make clothing to specifically protect against UV rays. The fabric used to make this type of clothing is what makes it protective. The tighter the knit or weave of a fabric, leaving less space between the fibers, the better it will protect your skin. Most fibers naturally absorb some UV radiation, and stretchy fabrics may have elastic threads that pull the fibers tightly together, reducing the spaces between them. Synthetic fibers such as polyester, lycra, nylon, and acrylic are more protective than bleached cotton. Also, shiny or lustrous semi-synthetic fabrics like rayon reflect more UV rays than matte fabrics, such as linen, which tend to absorb rather than reflect UV rays.
Try to limit how much time you are actually spending in the sun. The sun’s rays are at their most intense between 10 am and 4 pm Of all the sun’s UV rays, ultraviolet A is the most common and can reach beyond the top layer of your skin. UVA rays are believed to cause damage to your connective tissues, thus increasing your risk of skin cancer. If you need relief from the sun, try moving under umbrellas or even trees if going indoors is not possible.
Use the UV Index when planning your day. When planning outdoor activities, you can decide how much and what protection you’ll need from the sun based on the day’s UV index. The UV Index tells us what level of ultraviolet radiation we are exposed to. UV rays from the sun are measured on a scale of 1-11. The higher the number, the more intense UV rays and the greater risk of skin damage so you will need more protection.
While UV Safety Month is the perfect time to learn about these precautions, remember to implement them all year long, not just during the warm months of summer.
Are you Susceptible?
Have you had more than five sunburns in your lifetime? If so, then your risk for melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, has doubled according to the Skin Cancer Foundation’s 2017 statistics.
There are certain types of individuals who are more susceptible to sun damage than others. People with fair skin tones, light hair and eye colors, and freckles have a greater chance of suffering from sun damage. There are some medications that increase your skin’s sensitivity to UV rays and there are some that lower or even suppress your immune system. This in turn could make your skin more susceptible to sunburns and other ailments brought on by the sun.
People who are susceptible to sunburns may also be more susceptible to skin disorders and possible skin cancers later in life. All in all, people with pale skin should limit the time that they spend in the sun. People with darker complexion, who may not run the same risk of sun damage as fairer-skinned individuals, still need to err on the side of caution and protect their skin whenever they plan to be directly in the sun. Everyone is at risk if overexposed to the sun’s damaging rays. Ultimately, whether or not you are at greater risk depends on your personal genetics and family history.
Celebrate UV Safety Month – Be Proactive
With July being UV Safety Month, it’s a great time to get acquainted with the risks of UV ray and learn more about sun safety. With UV radiation being the leading cause of skin cancer in the United States, safety precautions should not be taken lightly. At MoleSafe, our approach is proactive and comprehensive. Our MoleSafe Skin Surveillance Program has the reliable accuracy to reveal skin cancer and melanoma at the earliest possible stage for fast, effective treatment. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.