From promoting SPF products to sharing their beauty routines, anyone with a social media account has seen the wave of influencers and skin care experts alike using their platforms to highlight the benefits of protecting our skin from the sun. Though the current trendiness of wearing sunscreen may make it tempting to brush off as unnecessary, recent studies conducted by organization such as The Skin Cancer Foundation have found that protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays is a key step in safeguarding your health.
The Skin Cancer Foundation has reported that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States with an estimated 9,500 people being diagnosed every single day. As well as, that 90% of non-melanoma and 86% of melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to UV rays from the sun.
These statistics alone reveal our need to be proactive this summer in avoiding damaging UV rays. To guard your present and future health here are four ways that you can reduce skin damage from the sun.
- Wear Sunscreen: One of the easiest ways to protect yourself is by wearing sunscreen anytime that you are going to be outside. The Skin Cancer Foundation explains that daily use of SPF 15 or higher can reduce the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma (a common type of non-melanoma skin cancer) by 40%. But with so many different levels of SPF to choose from, what type of sunscreen is best? The Cancer Council of Western Australia recommends using sunscreen that is at least SPF 30, water resistant, and labeled as broad spectrum; meaning that it filters out both UVA rays (which cause aging) and UVB rays (which lead to sunburns).
- Protective Clothing: in conjunction with applying sunscreen, having the proper clothing can assist in blocking UV rays from your skin. The American Cancer Society reports that long sleeves, long pants, and darker colors generally provide the most protection from the sun. Alongside these options consider looking into the wide variety of sun blocking clothing available. Often referred to as UPF or UV Protection Factor clothing these pieces have a special coating that block out UV rays.
- Cover Your Eyes: as we work to cover our skin from the sun, we can easily forget about the importance of covering our eyes as well. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology exposing your eyes to UV light rays can increase your risk of eye conditions such as cataracts and eye cancer. As a result, they recommend wearing a hat and only using sunglasses that have 100% UV absorption to keep your eyes as safe as possible while outside.
- Stay in the Shade: the most effective way to guard yourself from the sun is by staying out of it. However, it is important to note that being in the shade or being out when it is overcast does not mean that you should forego wearing sunscreen and taking other precautionary measures. UV rays can pass through the clouds, making it possible to still fall victim to sun damage on a cloudy day.
Though UV rays can present potential dangers, they should not discourage you from going outside and enjoying the sun. We just need to remember to protect ourselves. At Brooks, LeBoeuf, Foster & Gwartney we hope that everyone has a safe and sunburn free rest of the summer!
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Follow the links below to explore the resources that we used to make this post:
The Sun, UV Light and Your Eyes – American Academy of Ophthalmology (aao.org)
Tips for Choosing the Best Sunglasses – American Academy of Ophthalmology (aao.org)
How Do I Protect Myself from Ultraviolet (UV) Rays? (cancer.org)
Skin Cancer Facts & Statistics – The Skin Cancer Foundation
What’s the difference between SPF30+ and SPF50+? – Cancer Council West (cancerwa.asn.au)
Are There Benefits to Spending Time Outdoors? | Skin Cancer | CDC