How to protect your skin from the damaging effects of excess sunlight:
Excessive, long-term exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV) from sunlight can wreak havoc on your skin and predispose you to skin cancer as well as make your skin look older by inducing sun spots, reducing collagen, and increasing wrinkling.
It's never too late to protect yourself and minimize your future risk of skin cancer.
Here at Direct Dermatology, we propose a few simple steps that will allow you to maintain an active, healthy outdoor lifestyle and still protect your skin from the damaging effects of UV radiation.
1. Avoid peak sun hours: Sun rays are most intense from 10 am to 4 pm. Try to seek out shade from the sun during these hours.
2. Wear protective clothing: Protective clothing can often be the best and most convenient way to protect you and your family from excess sun while outdoors. Wear protective clothing such as long sleeved shirts and pants, a wide brimmed hat, and sunglasses if possible. Several companies sell clothing that are tested for UV protection: Sun Precautions, Coolibar, and REI. Alternatively, you can add Sun Guard to your load of laundry which will wash UV protection into your clothes.
3. Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen: Generously apply a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or higher. Apply 30 minutes prior to going outdoors, and re-apply the sunscreen every 2 hours even on cloudy days or after swimming or sweating heavily. (Please read our article on Sunscreens)
4. Avoid tanning booths: They are extremely harmful to your skin and predispose you to skin cancer. If you want to look like you've been in the sun, consider using a sunless self-tanning product, but continue to use sunscreen with it.
5. Protect your children from the sun: Have your children play in the shade, wear protective clothing, and apply sunscreen when outdoors. Does your child's school have shading in the playground? If not, check out the following organization that can help you and your child raise funds to get shades in the playgrounds at school: http://www.shade4schools.com/.
6. Use extra caution in the sun when you are near water, snow, and sand: Water, snow and sand reflect the damaging sun rays and increase your chance of sunburn.