Guarding Against the Sun

Guarding Your Skin Against the Sun

Your skin is your body’s largest organ and a powerful protector. And yet it often goes unappreciated until there’s a problem…like skin cancer.

As the warmer temperatures and sunny skies of late spring and early summer beckon us outdoors, it’s important to guard against sun damage. In fact, sun protection is essential to skin cancer prevention. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, about 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers and about 86 percent of melanomas are associated with exposure to UV radiation from the sun.

Here are some tips from the Mayo Clinic to help protect your skin from sun damage:

  • Use sunscreen. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Apply sunscreen generously, and reapply every two hours — or more often if you’re swimming or perspiring. Don’t forget that your skin is also exposed to the sun during other activities you do outside like running errands and driving in the car.
  • Seek shade. Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest.
  • Wear protective clothing. Cover your skin with tightly woven long-sleeved shirts, long pants and wide-brimmed hats. Also consider laundry additives, which give clothing an additional layer of ultraviolet protection for a certain number of washings, or special sun-protective clothing — which is specifically designed to block ultraviolet rays.

And don’t forget your eyes — they need protection from the sun, too! Every day—whether it is sunny or cloudy, and despite the season— we are exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Sunglasses are the best way to protect the eyes and the sensitive skin around them. Unprotected exposure can lead to cataracts and macular degeneration, two of the leading causes of vision loss among older Americans. When choosing sunglasses, select sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays.