The Importance of Using Sunscreen

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March 1st, 2019
by Kelley Viswanath, FNP-C

It is important to apply sunscreen EVERYDAY. Skin damaging UV rays are present all year round and should be worn rain or shine. Ultraviolet rays that cause sun damage and skin cancer are always present. They are independent of cold or hot weather, and are not blocked by clouds. On overcast days, only visible rays from the sun are blocked. UVB rays are not blocked by clouds. The best way to protect the skin is with sun protection.

Who needs sunscreen? Everyone. Sunscreen can help prevent skin cancer and premature aging from ultraviolet damage. Ultraviolet damage can cause skin cancer in anyone regardless of age, gender, or race. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends everyone use broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher.

Most people only apply 25-50 percent of the recommend amount of sunscreen. A minimum of 1 ounce is needed to fully cover the body. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours or after swimming or sweating.

What is the difference between UVA and UVB rays? Sunlight consists of two types of harmful rays that can lead to skin cancer. UVA rays are known as the “aging” rays. These can prematurely age your skin causing wrinkles and age spots. These types of rays can pass through the car of your window. UVB rays are known as the “burning” rays and are the primary cause of sunburn.

There is no safe way to tan. Every time you tan you damage your skin. This damage builds up and overtime can lead to skin cancer and premature aging. Stay out of the sun and apply your sunscreen daily!

References:
American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/media/stats/prevention-and-care/sunscreen-faqs