Skin cancer rates are on the rise, and the increase in skin cancers has doctors worried.
Dr. Moraitis stresses the importance of protection from ultraviolet radiation (UV). The harm caused by UV includes premature aging (such as wrinkling and age spots), skin cancer and damage to eyes. What’s more, the sun ages our skin undoubtedly more than any other environmental factor.
But there are safe ways to have fun in the sun. Sun protective clothing, including hats, sunglasses, sunscreens, umbrellas, and sunshades are all important first-line agents. Sun avoidance, at least for the hotter parts of the day around the noon hours, may always be considered. Awnings, canopies, window film or UV film, will all help to protect as well.
Sunscreen options are numerous, but can be confusing. SPF (sun protection factor) indicates how much a product will protect skin from the sun. Higher numbers mean that the product will create a great protection barrier on the skin. Dr. Moraitis recommends 50 and above for the skin of the face of fair-skinned people, and at least 30 and above for the body.
For children and those with extra sensitive skin or a particularly pale complexion, higher numbers are essential. You want a sunscreen that says, “broad spectrum,” which means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
It’s never too soon to protect your skin from the sun; particularly if you have fair skin and light eyes. Babies should be kept out of direct sunlight and should wear sun protective clothing, including hats and sunglasses. While most sunscreen can be used on infants, it is better to only use a sunblock with zinc and/or titanium dioxide.
As a child grows, UV protection habits should become as routine as brushing teeth, and adults should use UV protection daily. Outdoor workers, baby boomers and seniors should use sun protection and check their skin regularly as skin cancer is more likely to occur in older age groups.