Sunlight feels good. It helps our bodies produce Vitamin D. It can even be beneficial for some skin conditions. But, overexposure to the sun can cause sunburns, freckles, rashes, wrinkles, leathery skin, and skin cancer.
sun produces ultraviolet light, commonly known as UVA and UVB
rays. These rays are what cause sun damage. The sun's rays are
stronger in the summer, in high altitudes and near the equator.
The effects are intensified by reflections from water, sand,
and snow. Harmful UV rays are present, even on cloudy days.
And UVA rays can even penetrate through the windshield of your
Many areas report UV indexes on local weather forecasts. They have a scale of 1-10 and predict the intensity of UV light for the area on a given day.
The best protection is to avoid the sun during peak hours. The strongest rays are between 10 am and 4 pm. Using a "broad spectrum" sunscreen with at least an SPF 15 will help reduce and prevent sun damage and skin cancer.
Sunscreen should be applied 20 minutes before going outside. Water-resistant sunscreens should be reapplied every two hours, after swimming or intense exercise. Sunscreens that do not say "broad spectrum" will only protect you from UVB rays, not UVA rays. Studies have shown that UVA rays go deeper into the skin and accelerate the development of wrinkles, leathery looking skin and skin cancer faster than UVB rays.
Its important to note that SPF is only giving a protection factor for UVB rays. It does not mean that it is broad spectrum and offers any protection from UVA rays.
addition to using sunscreen it is a good idea to wear sunglasses,
a wide brimmed hat and protective clothing. Tight knit and dark
colored fabrics offer the most protection.
A sunburn or tan is actually an injury to the skin. Consequently, the skin tries to protect itself, by producing melanin. Indoor tanning is just as bad or perhaps worse, because they are UVA bulbs.
Our dermatologists and medical aestheticians offer many options to help treat photo damage, premature wrinkling and skin cancer.