Sun Safety Tips to Keep You from Feeling the Burn - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on August 19, 2014

Sun Safety Tips to Keep You from Feeling the Burn

We’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy a beautiful summer—and after a freezing and snowy winter and cool spring, we deserve every moment of it. However, while we certainly couldn’t live without the sun, we can get too much of a good thing.

The Dangers of the Sun

Exposure to the sun is the number one cause of skin cancer. That’s right; number one.

It also speeds up the skin changes we typically attribute to normal aging, such as saggy and/or wrinkly skin. This occurs because the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light damages the fibers in the skin known as elastin. When this breaks down, the skin begins to sag and lose its ability to go back in place. Additionally, the sun can cause the skin to bruise and tear more easily, causing it to take longer to heal.

The sun can lead to other aesthetic changes in the skin as well, such as freckles, discoloration, dilation of small blood vessels under the skin. In some cases, it can cause precancerous and cancerous lesions and benign tumors to develop. Yikes.

Despite the fact that exposure to the sun is the number one cause of skin cancer and leads to other skin problems, there’s a lot you can do to lessen the impact it has on you. To do so, you’ll want to follow these helpful sun safety tips:

Sun Safety Tips

Sunscreen and sunglasses can
go a long way to protect you
from the sun's harmful rays.

Apply Sunscreen:

Select a sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection (protects against UVA and UVB rays) with an SPF of 30 or higher. Apply a new layer every two hours. Since UV rays can pass through clouds, wear sunscreen on hazy days as well.

Wear protective clothing:

Choose a tightly woven fabric, long sleeved shirt, long pants, or long skirts to cover and protect the skin. You should consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat as well.

Wear sunglasses:

Select sunglasses that provide 100 percent UV protection.

Perform regular skin self-exams:

Regularly perform self-exams and familiarize yourself with existing growths so you’ll be able to notice any changes that occur to them. This will also allow you to recognize if any new growths develop.

Avoid tanning beds:

Tanning beds, which emit UVA radiation, are known to significantly increase melanoma risk in those who regularly use them. That golden glow isn’t worth cancer.

Seek shade:

Limit your exposure to the sun by seeking out shade and/or shelter when necessary. This is most important when the sun is the strongest, which is between ten a.m. and four p.m.

Take extra caution with children:

Children are more likely to experience sunburns, and one or two bad ones before age 18 can significantly increase his/her risk of skin cancer.

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