Overexposure to UV rays can lead to serious health problems, including skin cancer. The good news is that UV damage is mostly avoidable, and you can protect yourself by taking a few simple precautions. Dr. Fitzgeraldo Sanchez is an expert surgical dermatologist, pathologist, and melanoma specialist at Maiden Lane Medical, and he regularly counsels patients on the importance of sun protection. To learn more, call Dr. Sanchez’s midtown Manhattan location or book an appointment online today.
Sun Protection Tips
Why is sun protection important?
Overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause immediate effects, like sunburn and skin aging, as well as severe long-term problems. Skin cancer, for example, is the most common cancer in the United States, and most cases could be prevented simply by avoiding UV damage.
How can I protect against UV radiation?
Ultraviolet radiation, from the sun or tanning lamps, can be harmful. Even on cloudy days, the sun’s UV rays can be dangerous for your skin. Take precautions and follow these steps to limit your risk of overexposure:
Avoid UV light
UV light is strongest between the hours of 10am and 4pm. The best way to limit your exposure to UV rays is to avoid direct sunlight during these hours.
When outdoors, cover your skin with long-sleeved shirts, pants, broad-brimmed hats, and sunglasses. Clothing and shade provide excellent protection from ultraviolet radiation.
Check the UV index
The UV index predicts ultraviolet radiation levels on a 1-11+ scale and provides a daily forecast to help you plan outdoor activities and prevent overexposure to ultraviolet radiation.
Sunscreen protects your skin from sunburn, skin cancer, and other problems caused by the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Apply sunscreen to any part of your body that’s exposed to sunlight, including your face, neck, and the front and back of your hands. Use balms or lipsticks that contain sunscreen to protect your lips.
What type of sunscreen should I use?
Sunscreens with broad spectrum SPF of 30 or higher block 97% of the sun’s UV rays. They also help minimize short-term and long-term sun damage.
High-number SPFs provide slightly more protection, but no sunscreen can block 100% of UV rays. For maximum UV protection, look for the following ingredients:
- Zinc oxide
- Titanium dioxide
Sunscreen should be applied 20-30 minutes before sun exposure and reapplied every two hours. If you’re around water, sand, paint, metals, or other elements that reflect the sun, you should reapply sunscreen every hour.
To schedule an appointment with award-winning dermatologist Dr. Sanchez at Maiden Lane Medical, call or book an appointment online today.