There is no better feeling than the warm kiss of sunlight on your skin throughout the day. Sunlight is essential to your body’s ability to synthesize vitamin D, which has many beneficial and protective effects. However, don’t plan on sitting out in the sun all day without any sunscreen. Even though UVB rays only accounts for 5% of the radiation from sunlight, but it is responsible for causing sunburns, photoaging, and skin cancer. Here are a couple of tips on how to best protect your skin:
- Everybody needs sunscreen, regardless of your skin tone. Melanin does have some protective effects, but will not 100% prevent your skin from the damaging effects of UV radiation.
- Clothing and hats are the best barrier protection.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends avoiding the use of sunscreen in children six months and younger. However, the application of a small amount of SPF 15 sunscreen to the face and exposed areas is OK when shade and adequate clothing are not available.
- Your sunscreen must be at least SPF 30.
- You must reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours or less, especially if you have been swimming or sweating.
- Try to avoid the strongest sunlight exposure between the hours of 10:00am and 2:00pm.
- Use the “ABCDE” method (Asymmetry, Borders are poorly defined, Color is not uniform, Diameter is greater than 6mm, Evolution over time) to assess the moles on your body every month and report any worrisome signs to your Doctor.
- You should be careful about sun exposure if you: have a personal or family history of skin cancer, have many irregular moles, have fair skin or sunburn easily, live at high altitude, have autoimmune diseases such as Lupus, have a weakened immune system.