Unprotected exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays has been shown to not only cause skin cancer, but also to damage eyes and even the immune system. While it’s important to get some sun exposure daily to increase vitamin D levels, too much can wreak havoc on your health, resulting in premature aging and other issues. Dr. Jeffrey A. Klein and his knowledgeable team at HK Dermatology in San Juan Capistrano, California want you to learn more about protecting yourself from overexposure to the sun’s harmful rays, so keep reading.
5 tips to prevent overexposure to the sun
Use these five tips to minimize your exposure.
1. Avoid the worst of the summer sun
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), it only takes 15 minutes to get sunburned. One of the easiest ways to ensure you and your family remain safe from the sun’s harmful rays is to avoid overexposure in the first place. Minimize your time in the sun, especially during the summer’s peak hours from noon to 4pm. In climates such as Southern California, be aware that the warm weather can linger for months. Dr. Klein suggests you avoid overexposure during other seasons, as well.
2. Wear protective clothing
Protect yourself and your family from harmful UV rays with an assortment of protective clothing, such as wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses to shield your eyes, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts. Loose-fitting clothing made of tightly-woven fabric or with UV protection work best. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends materials containing a UPF of at least 30, the minimum level to gain their Seal of Recommendation. They also suggest you wear clothes with:
- Dark or bright colors: absorb more of the sun’s harmful UV rays
- Unbleached cotton: contains natural lignins that also deter the UV rays
- Satin or shiny polyester: reflective qualities provide added protection
- Chemically treated UV dyes: stop various amounts of UV rays from reaching your skin
You can purchase protective UV clothing at a variety of retail shops and online. Be aware, though, that if your clothing gets wet, it offers less protection.
3. Use sunscreen
Dr. Klein recommends you generously apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen that’s at least SPF 30to your skin during the summer and warmer months, even when overcast. Mineral sunscreens block and reflect the sunlight’s harmful UV rays.
Remember to reapply sunscreen after swimming. In addition, look for lip balms and other makeup offering UV protection.
4. Protect your eyes
The sun not only damages the skin, it can harm your eyes. It even alters DNA, which may result in skin cancer on your eyelids, as well as premature aging to the surrounding skin. In addition, it can affect your vision in several ways, causing:
These cloud the lens of one or both eyes, leading to vision loss over time. UV rays damage proteins within your eye’s lens, triggering a reaction that may lead to the formation of cataracts.
Keratitis is caused by burning of the cornea. This can even occur during winter due to “snowblindness” from skiing or hiking. Reflection from sand and water can cause corneal sunburn, as well.
Continual UV damage to the retina causes vision loss. It’s most common in people over age 60.
We recommend UV-blocking sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat to protect your eyes from harmful rays.
5. Avoid tanning beds
Indoor tanning, at any time of year, increases your chances of melanoma by 75%. Enough said.
Get regular checkups
It’s important to see your dermatologist regularly to uncover any skin abnormalities, such as unusual moles, before they can become dangerous. Dr. Klein uses a variety of methods to treat skin issues, including excision, cryotherapy, mohs surgery, ameluz with photodynamic therapy and superficial radiation therapy with SRT-100™. He can also discuss how various medications can increase your sun exposure risks.
To discuss any concerns with Dr. Klein or to receive more helpful hints about avoiding sun damage, schedule a checkup at 949-248-1632, or book an appointment online today.