Sun Damaged Skin
How to Protect Skin from Sun
Skin cancer is a very common disease; one in five Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetime. To detect skin cancer early, when it’s most treatable, it’s important to perform regular skin exams, and see a dermatologist if you notice anything new or suspicious on your skin, or anything changing, itching, or bleeding.
Sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Sunlight has two types of harmful ultraviolet rays that reach the earth: ultraviolet A rays and ultraviolet B rays, both of which can cause skin cancer.
- UVA rays (“aging rays”) can prematurely age your skin, causing wrinkles and age spots. They pass through window glass.
- UVB rays (“burning rays”) cause sunburn. They are blocked by window glass.
It’s important to note that the sun emits harmful UV rays year-round, even on cloudy days. There is no safe way to tan. Every time you tan, you damage your skin. As this damage builds, you speed up the aging of your skin and increase your risk for all types of cancer. The acute effects of sun overexposure include inflammation, a visible burn, pain, and blistering.
To protect your skin from the sun, seek shade, wear protective clothing and use a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and reapply sunscreen every two hours or after swimming or sweating. Use extra caution near water, snow and sand. They reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which increases your chance of sunburn. Avoid tanning beds and consider using a self-tanning product if you want to look tan, but continue to use sunscreen with it.
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