26th April, 202210 Tips From Our Doctors On Sun Protection
Protecting your skin from sun damage is vitally important to reducing your chances of developing skin cancer. Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays can also cause skin damage, eye damage and immune system suppression. So you can understand why our doctors put so much emphasis on protecting your skin when exposed to sunlight.
How to protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun
- Apply sunscreen every day, even if it’s cloudy or raining. The clouds don’t block the harmful UVA and UVB rays from penetrating your skin.
- Avoid exposure to the sun during the middle of the day (roughly 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.)as during this time, the ultraviolet rays, which cause sunburn, are strongest.
- Reapply sunscreen throughout the day. Ideally, reapply every two hours normally or every hour if you are swimming or sweating.
- Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB radiation. Make sure it is water resistant and has a SPF of 30 or higher. Sunscreens without these qualifications might stop you from getting sunburned, but they won’t protect against skin cancer.
- If you know you will be outside for a long period of the day, make sure you wear protective clothing such as long sleeves and slacks, as well as a wide-brimmed hat, to help protect your skin against sun exposure.
- Be aware of the extra damage that water and sand can cause. These surfaces reflect sunlight, which can increase your chance of getting sunburnt.
- Keep children and babies away from sun exposure. Sunburn in a child’s early years can lead to drastically higher rates of skin cancer later in their life.
- Wear sunglasses with lenses that have 99% to 100% UV absorption to provide the best sun protection for your eyes and the surrounding skin.
- Be cautious if you are taking medication that makes your skin more sensitive to sunlight. This includes specific types of antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, antifungals, blood pressure medications, and chemo.
- Look out for windows. While glass blocks UVB rays pretty well, it allows UVA rays to pass through. Be aware of sun exposure near windows in the home and the car.
How to apply sunscreen
The best sunscreen to apply is a broad spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays and has an SPF of 30 or higher.
Sunscreen should be applied liberally and evenly to clean and dry skin. For an adult, the recommended application is approximately one teaspoon for the face and approximately seven teaspoons for a full body application.
Also make sure to check your sunscreen’s expiration date. Sunscreen without an expiration date has a shelf life of no more than 3 years. Its shelf life is shorter if it has been exposed to high temperatures.
It’s never too late to start protecting your skin from sun exposure. If you’ve already accumulated sun damage throughout the years, it is possible to maintain and repair damaged skin. Talk to your doctor today if you have skin concerns, or would like to book a skin check. Learn more about our skin checks here.