Although some issues caused by sun damage can be treated, many cannot, and the primary and most effective way to prevent potentially permanent and life-threatening conditions is with prevention. Avoiding sun exposure is the best form of protection. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the outdoors when the weather is nice.
Here are a few sun protection tips that will help make for a fun summer as well as help prevent issues such as sunburns and melanoma.
Sunscreen and sunblock have their places in preventing sun damage. However, a barrier to sunlight reaching the skin, such as a long sleeve shirt or long skirt/pants, is incredibly effective at blocking the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation from damaging your skin cells. If the temperature permits, opt for clothing that covers most of your body. Many lighter-weight materials still stay cool but offer the same UV protection.
Although it is one of the easiest ways to help protect your skin from UV radiation, there are still a few things to look out for when selecting which sunscreen you use and how you use it. Be sure to choose a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or above and one that is also broad spectrum (this protects against UVA and UVB rays). For longer-lasting results after the first application apply 20-30 minutes before your activity. Remember to apply everywhere, even areas such as the lower sides of arms where the sun does not directly hit (the UV radiation can reflect off of water and other surfaces). Also, be sure to use enough and reapply often.
Sunblock is very similar to sunscreen but has titanium dioxide and zinc oxide added. Not only is some of the UV radiation absorbed by the chemicals in the sunblock, but these two added compounds also help by reflecting a lot of the radiation before it reaches the skin. This can be more effective than sunscreen alone but is not as transparent.
If you want to learn more about the prevention of skin cancer or sun damage, contact Shondra L. Smith Dermatology and Advanced Aesthetics in Lake Charles, LA, at 337-477-0011, or visit www.shondrasmithmd.com to schedule a consultation, today.