Protecting Your Skin

Your skin is more vulnerable than you might think

Protecting your skin from UVA and UVB rays is easier and more important than you may think.

UVA and UVB Rays

  • UVA are the longer light waves that cause skin aging and damage

  • UVB are the shorter waves that cause sun burns

  • Both can cause skin cancer

Skin Cancer

  • Skin cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. It occurs when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells (most often caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds) triggers mutations, or genetic defects, that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors.
  • Types:


Actinic Keratosis

Atypical Moles

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Melanoma

Merkel Carcinoma

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

90% of non-melanoma skin cancers & 86% of melanomas are associated with exposure to UV radiation from the sun.

Types of Protection

Sunscreen

  • SPF is the measure of how well a sunscreen protects you

  • If someone takes 20 minutes to burn, SPF 15 is supposed to make it take fifteen times longer to burn

  • Broad spectrum means you are protected from UVA and UVB rays
  • Sunscreen should be worn daily, and reapplied as needed
  • " look for The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation, which is awarded to sun protective products that meet stringent criteria for safety and effectiveness"

Most recently, in a rigorous study of more than 1,600 adults over the course of a decade, researchers determined that subjects applying sunscreen with an SPF of 16 daily reduced their risk of melanoma by 50 percent.

Clothing

  • First line of defense

  • UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) measures how much sun clothing lets through

  • UPF 50 lets 1/50th of the sun’s radiation through
  • The tighter the knit or weave, the smaller the holes and the less UV can get through
  • Synthetic fibers (polyester, lycra, nylon, and acrylic) are more protective than bleached cottons
  • Shiny or lustrous semi-synthetic fabrics reflect more UV than do matte one
  • The more vivid the color, the greater the protection

Shade

  • "People can spend long hours in the shade while still receiving quite a lot of sun exposure and risking skin damage. This is because UVB rays, often considered the most harmful part of sunlight, can reach the skin indirectly."

  • Only deep shade where the sun is not visible will protect us
  • Hats with broad brims all around and those with brims angled downwards provide the greatest UV protection. Brims must be at least three inches wide to provide reasonable sun protection around the nose and cheeks
  • Umbrellas offer little to none UV protection! On average you are still receiving 84% of the sun's UV rays!

Shade alone can rarely provide full UV protection, especially for prolonged periods. However, it is one important element in a comprehensive sun protection

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Skin Cancer Risk when Driving

  • 53 percent of skin cancers in the US occur on the left, or drivers' side of the body.

  • Transparent window film screens out almost 100 percent of UVB and UVA without reducing visibility

  • Keep sunscreen in the car

  • Skip the sunroof, Skip the convertible

Overall, protecting your skin is as easy as applying sunscreen, wearing protective clothes and staying the shade! By completing these steps you can drastically reduce your risk to skin cancer.

Bibliography

"Skin Cancer Prevention." Sun Protection. The Skin Cancer Foundation, n.d. Web. 03 Oct. 2016. <http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sun-protection>.