According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined. Did you know that most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays?
Our relationship with the sun is bizarre. The sun provides us with much-needed Vitamin D, a nutrient that helps strengthen our bones and prevent diseases like osteoporosis. A moderate level of sun exposure has proven to enhance our moods, help alleviate stress, and improve our sleep habits. However, the sun also emits UV rays, which can cause potential harm to us.
UV exposure is the primary cause of most skin cancers. UV rays can damage your skin’s DNA, leading to mutations that cause cells to grow uncontrollably, resulting in cancer. When cells reproduce abnormally, they can metastasize, meaning that cancer can spread from one part of the body to the other.
To lower your risk of getting skin cancer, you can protect your skin from UV rays from the sun. You can also avoid artificial sources of UV exposure like tanning beds and sunlamps.
So, what can you do to prevent harm from the sun? The remedy can be staying out of the sun altogether or slathering on the sunscreen.
Practice Sun Safety
Protection from UV rays is essential round the year, not just during the summer. UV rays can reach you on cloudy and cool days, and they reflect off from surfaces like water, cement, sand, and snow. Check for the forecasts of the strength of UV rays each day. If the UV index is 3 or higher in your area, protect your skin from too much exposure to the sun.
The following are several ways to protect your skin when the UV index is 3 or higher:
- Stay in the shade
- Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs
- Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade your face, head, ears, and neck
- Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block both UVA and UVB rays
- Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher
How do sunscreens help?
Sunscreens are products that combine several ingredients to help prevent the sun’s UV radiation from reaching the skin.
What should you do?
Apply a thick layer of sunscreen on all exposed skin. Put on a broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks UVA and UVB rays and has an SPF of 15 or higher before you step out.
What is SPF?
Sunscreens are assigned a sun protection factor (SPF), which is a number that rates how well they block UV rays. Higher numbers indicate more protection. A broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher protects the skin from UVA and UVB rays.
How do you use sunscreen?
- Sunscreen should be applied 15-30 minutes before sun exposure, regardless of the weather.
- Sunscreen should be reapplied if you stay out of the sun for more than 2 hours. It should also be applied immediately after swimming, toweling off, or sweating.
Still not convinced about sunscreen?
Are you wondering how our forefathers managed to survive the rigor of the sun? While our ancestors spent a lot of time under the sun with no protection, they were safe. However, with rapid depletion of the ozone layer, and changing climatic conditions, it is important to take extra care in the current times. There is also a widely held misconception that sunscreen is just for cosmetic benefits. But, now you know it is more than that! It is paramount that you keep yourself protected from the harmful effects of sun exposure with a wall of the barrier- “Sunscreen”.
Cancer Clinics is one of the best Cancer hospitals in Hyderabad. It is housed with world-class Oncology specialists, who treat you with utmost care. Book an appointment today to get screened. Be safe and stay healthy!