Protection against the Sun’s UV Radiation

By Amanda Blount

Protection from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation is not just important during the summer but all year round.  The sun UV rays not only can reach you on sunny days, but also on cloudy and hazy days as well. The UV rays are able to reflect off surfaces like water, cement, sand, and snow, so please keep this in mind especially on cloudy days.

The most hazardous UV exposure outdoors in the continental United States is during the hours of 10a.m. to 4p.m. daylight saving time (9a.m. to 3p.m. standard time). During the late spring and early summer in North America, the UV rays from the sunlight are at its highest. Excessive exposure to sunlight can cause cancer; over two million Americans have developed skin cancer each year. Through studies, basal and squamous cell cancers has been proposed to be strongly associated to the exposure to UV over a period of years.

Sunscreen are products that have several ingredients that help prevent the sun’s UV radiation from reaching the skin. There are two types of UV radiation, UVA and UVB, which can damage the skin, age it prematurely, and increase your risk of skin cancer. Sunscreen is commonly indexed by their Sun Protection Factor (SPF) rating of SPF15, SPF30 and SPF50, which filters out a percentage of incoming UVB rays. No sunscreen can block all UV rays and regardless of its strength, it should not be expected to stay effective longer than two hours without reapplication.

The sun’s UV rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes of being exposed. To help protect yourself and your family not only using sunscreen but also staying in shaded areas, wearing proper clothing to cover the skin, wearing a hat with a brim and sunglasses to protect the eyes.

 

References

“Skin Control and Cancer.” Centers for Disease Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 Apr. 2017.https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/what-is-skin-cancer.htm

Sunscreens, EWG’s 2016 Guide to. “EWG’s 10th Annual Guide to Safer Sunscreens.” EWG. http://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/skin-cancer-on-the-rise/

“Skin Cancer Foundation.” Sunscreens Explained – SkinCancer.org http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sun-protection/sunscreen/sunscreens-explained