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Tips to Stay Safe in the Sun: From Sunscreen to Sunglasses

Sun safety is always in season. It’s important to protect your skin from sun damage throughout the year, no matter the weather. Why? Sun exposure can cause sunburn, skin aging (such as skin spots, wrinkles, or “leathery skin”), eye damage, and skin cancer, the most common of all cancers.

Skin cancer is on the rise in the U.S, with 106,110 new cases of skin melanomas and 7,180 deaths projected each year.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. There are an estimated 1.3 million people living with melanoma of the skin in the U.S. About 4.3 million people are treated for basal cell cancer and squamous cell skin cancer in the U.S. every year, according to a report from the Office of the Surgeon General.

Lower Your Risk for Sunburn, Skin Cancer, and Early Skin Aging

At SkinMD, we recommend that you use broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher, even on cloudy days. This is in accordance with guidance from the FDA.

  • Apply sunscreen liberally to all uncovered skin, especially your nose, ears, neck, hands, feet, and lips (but avoid putting it inside your mouth and eyes).
  • Reapply at least every two hours. Apply more often if you’re swimming or sweating. (Read the label for your specific sunscreen. An average-size adult or child needs at least one ounce of sunscreen, about the amount it takes to fill a shot glass, to evenly cover the body.)
  • If you don’t have much hair, apply sunscreen to the top of your head or wear a hat.
  • No sunscreen completely blocks UV radiation. So other protections are needed, such as protective clothing, sunglasses, and staying in the shade.
  • No sunscreen is waterproof.

Read Sunscreen Labels

Although UVB rays are the primary cause of sunburn, both UVA and UVB rays contribute to skin cancer. All sunscreens help protect against sunburn. But only those that are broad spectrum have been shown to also reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging caused by the sun when used as directed with other sun protection measures.

  • Products that pass the FDA’s broad-spectrum requirements can be labeled “broad spectrum.”
  • Water-resistance claims, for 40 or 80 minutes, tell how much time you can expect to get the labeled SPF-level of protection while swimming or sweating.
  • The sunscreen  may not make claims that their sunscreens are “waterproof” or “sweatproof.”
  • Products may not be identified as “sunblocks” or claim instant protection or protection for more than two hours without reapplying.

Risk Factors for Harmful Effects of UV Radiation

People of all skin colors are potentially at risk for sunburn and other harmful effects of UV radiation, so always protect yourself. Be especially careful if you have:

  • pale skin
  • blond, red, or light brown hair
  • been treated for skin cancer
  • a family member who has had skin cancer

If you take medications, ask your health care professional about sun-care precautions. Some medications may increase sun sensitivity. Even on an overcast day, up to 80 percent of the sun’s UV rays can get through the clouds. Stay in the shade as much as possible.

To book an appointment with a SkinMD provider use our online booking tool or call 708-636-3767.


Source: FDA

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