Protecting You and Your Family from the Sun

 

Now that summer is in full swing, I find myself lathering on sunscreen to protect myself from harmful rays.  But sometimes I wonder; “Is all of this hassle really worth it?” “What is truly recommended?”  After some research, I thought I would share what I learned with you!

UVA/UVB rays and the UV Index:

We all hear the terms UVA, UVB and UV index when we watch the weather on television, but I never knew what exactly they meant.  As it turns out there are two types of rays from the sun, ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultra violet B (UVB). UVA rays are known for aging and penetrating skin; affecting the immune system and keeping it from protecting you from the growth of skin cancer.  UVB rays burn the skin.  Both types of rays are measured using the UV index.  A higher number on the index predicts a higher chance of damage from the sun.

The effects of sun:

-In the past 31 years the number of people with skin cancer is greater than the number of people with all other cancers combined.

-Over the course of their lifetime, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer.

-About 40-50 percent of Americans that live to be 65 will have some type of skin cancer at some point.

Protecting your skin:

Did you know that even on a cloudy day, you can still be exposed to up to 80 percent of the sun’s rays?  This would explain how I have gotten sunburned on a cloudy day.  Doctors recommend using water-resistant sunscreens that protect from both UVA and UVB rays and have a SPF (sun protection factor) 30 or more.

Sunscreen should be applied to all areas exposed to the sun about 15 to 30 minutes before enjoying the sun and apply again every two hours.  But, if you are sweating a lot or swimming, sunscreen can stop working after 40 minutes so re-apply accordingly. 🙂

Here’s a fun fact – The food and drug administration (FDA) requires that sunscreen stays at its initial strength for at least three years. This means that you don’t have to start with a fresh bottle every season unless it’s expired. But, if applying the recommended amount (about one ounce per application to all exposed areas) one bottle of sunscreen shouldn’t last too long!

I hope you’re enjoying your summer with a family and friends.

Have a Great Week!

 

Sources:

http://www.skincancer.org/Skin-Cancer-Facts/

http://www.aad.org/media-resources/stats-and-facts/prevention-and-care/sunscreens

http://www.epa.gov/sunwise/uvandhealth.html

 

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