Everyone needs some sun exposure. The emphasis is on “some” because too much sun can cause skin cancer, eye problems, weakened immune system, prematurely aged skin, or unsightly skin spots. People with fair hair and complexion, or a personal or family history of skin cancer are at greatest risk of sunburn. But regardless of skin color, everyone can take steps to be sun smart.
- Try to stay out of the sun when rays are strongest, typically from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Don’t be fooled by a cloudy day. Up to 80 percent of rays can penetrate even on an overcast day and reflect off water, sand, and concrete.
- Wear long-sleeve shirts, long pants and a hat to cover the skin and protect against harmful UV (ultraviolet) rays.
- Apply a generous amount of broad spectrum sunscreen that has an SPF of 15 or higher 15 minutes before going out in the sun. Remember your lips, hands, ears, feet, shoulders, behind your neck, and top of your head if you don’t have much hair. Throw away suntan lotion that is past the expiration date or more than three years old.
- If around water or swimming, select waterproof or water resistant sunscreen that stays on skin longer. However, you will still need to reapply sunscreen at least every two hours.
- Protect your eyes with sunglasses that offer 99 to 100 percent UV protection.
- Check if any medications can increase sun sensitivity, such as antibiotics or acne medications. Sunscreen may not be able to protect skin from sun sensitivity caused by medications.
- If you use an indoor tanning bed, wear goggles and do not go over your time limit.
- Check your skin regularly for signs of skin cancer. See your doctor if you notice anything unusual.
Visit DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/sunquiz and take the ‘summer sun exposure quiz’ and test your knowledge.
Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake