Skin Care
Preventing Sun Damage
By Dr. Jere Mammino
American Osteopathic College of Dermatology

Jul 24, 2004, 17:55

Keywords: preventing sun damage, sun protection, dermatoheliosis, sunscreen
Simple Guidelines To Protect You From The Sun
  1. Minimize sun exposure during the hours of 10 am to 4 pm, when the sun is strongest. Try to plan your outdoor activities for the early morning or late afternoon.

  2. Wear a hat, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when out in the sun. Choose tightly-woven materials for greater protection from the sun's rays.

  3. Apply a sunscreen before every exposure to the sun, and reapply frequently and liberally, at least every two hours, as long as you stay in the sun. The sunscreen should always be reapplied after swimming or perspiring heavily, since products differ in their degrees of water resistance. I recommend sunscreens with as SPF (sun protection factor) of 15 or more printed on the label.

  4. Don't forget to use your sunscreen on overcast days. The sun's rays are as damaging to your skin on cloudy, hazy days as they are on sunny days.

  5. Individuals at high risk for skin cancer (outdoor workers, fair-skinned individuals, and persons who have already had skin cancer) should apply sunscreens daily.

  6. If you develop an allergic reaction to your sunscreen, change sunscreens. One of the many products on the market today should be right for you.

  7. Beware of reflective surfaces! Sand, water and concrete can reflect more than half the sun's rays onto your skin. Sitting in the shade does not guarantee protection from sunburn.

  8. Avoid tanning parlors. The UV light emitted by tanning booths causes sunburn and premature aging, and increases your risk of developing skin cancer.

  9. Keep young infants out of the sun. Begin using sunscreens on children at six months of age, and then allow sun exposure with moderation.

  10. Teach children sun protection early.  Sun damage occurs with each unprotected sun exposure and accumulates over the course of a lifetime.  If sunscreens are applied regularly on children, they will develop good habits, and will continue to use these products as teenagers and adults.  Don't forget to apply sunscreens on school age children on the days they have P.E. (physical education).

This article is taken from American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, used with permission.

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