Individuals who spend too much time in the sun without taking the proper preventative measures will inevitably experience sunburn. While sunburn may seem like a mild issue, frequent overexposure to UV rays heightens a person’s risk of developing dry, discolored, or wrinkled skin, not to mention skin cancer. To help people avoid forming a skin condition, Dermatology Associates offers three actions they can take to reduce the chances of having sunburn.
1. Use Sunscreen
Sunscreen is arguably the most effective way to protect the skin from the damaging effects of the sun. It not only prevents sunburn but also minimizes the risk of getting skin cancer and can impede early aging. To ensure adequate protection, apply sunscreen 20 to 30 minutes before heading outside, covering all exposed areas of the skin, and then reapply every two hours.
Anyone spending ample time outside should wear sunscreen, no matter their gender, skin tone, or whether or not they have a tan. However, while sunscreen is safe for anyone over six months, it is not ideal for babies under six months old. Parents can apply a minimal amount of sunscreen to their infants, but American Academy of Pediatrics recommends covering the baby with protective clothing instead.
Factors for Choosing Sunscreen
Sunscreen is assigned a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) value, which indicates how well it blocks out UV rays. The higher the SPF value, the better the protection. SPF 30 offers excellent protection, but those with skin cancer symptoms or those who experienced the disease in the past may want a sunscreen with a higher SPF.
Another aspect to consider when shopping for sunscreen is broad-spectrum protection. The sun emits three different types of ultraviolet radiation—UVA, UVB, and UVC. Broad-spectrum sunscreen guards users against UVA and UVB rays (UVC rays do not affect people nearly as much as the other two). This level of protection matters because some sunscreens only keep people from sunburn and do not defend against skin cancer or early aging.
As mentioned, reapplying sunscreen every two hours is a best practice when outside all day. However, a person may need to reapply more often if they go swimming or perspire. In this case, it may be wise to purchase water-resistant sunscreen. These products can last between 40 to 80 minutes even when exposed to moisture.
2. Go Out When Sunlight Is Less Intense
Sun rays are stronger at certain times of the day than at others. In the United States, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. features the most intense UV radiation. Therefore, people should enjoy the outdoors in the early morning or evening hours.
Of course, this time range makes up a substantial part of the day. Realistically, people may need to be outdoors on a hot sunny day between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. In these cases, individuals can find shady areas to give their skin a rest throughout the day. If the location has no shade, they should bring an umbrella or tent to block the light.
3. Wear Protective Clothing
If not swimming, people should avoid leaving too much skin exposed. Protective clothing can reduce the amount of sunscreen a person needs. A wide-brimmed hat, long sleeve shirt, and pants can cover the face, ears, neck, arms, and legs.
Material and color play a role in sun protection, as well. For instance, hats made of canvas and shirts made of a tightly woven fabric deliver the best defense against the sun’s rays. In terms of color, darker hues are more beneficial for blocking UV radiation than lighter tones. Additionally, some clothing is made according to international standards in UV protection.
The skin is not the only part of the body impacted by sun damage—it can also harm the eyes. Wearing sunglasses that filter out UV light will shield the eyes and lower the risk of conditions like cataracts. Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays provide the strongest protection against the sun.
Trust Dermatology Associates for Top-Quality Skin Care Services
As vital as these preventative measures are, sun exposure can still lead to more severe skin issues like cancer. Patients seeking treatment for skin disorders can turn to Dermatology Associates in Fayetteville, New York for assistance. The experienced doctors and staff use state-of-the-art procedures to treat a host of skin conditions, from the simple to the complex. They also act as patient advocates, educating and supporting people while providing care. Contact the office today to learn more about skin care services or schedule an appointment.