Healthy Tip Tuesday – Sun Safety

In this week’s Healthy Tip Tuesday, Trinity Hosptial Twin City is bringing you everything you need to know about sun safety.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you can reduce your risk of skin damage and skin cancer by seeking shade under an umbrella, tree, or another shelter before you need relief from the sun.

 

The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes. Follow these recommendations to help protect yourself and your family.

Shade

You can reduce your risk of skin damage and skin cancer by seeking shade under an umbrella, tree, or other shelter before you need relief from the sun. Your best bet to protect your skin is to use sunscreen or wear protective clothing when you’re outside—even when you’re in the shade.

Clothing

When possible, long-sleeved shirts and long pants and skirts can provide protection from UV rays. Clothes made from tightly woven fabric offer the best protection. A wet T-shirt offers much less UV protection than a dry one, and darker colors may offer more protection than lighter colors. Some clothing certified under international standards comes with information on its ultraviolet protection factor.

If wearing this type of clothing isn’t practical, at least try to wear a T-shirt or a beach cover-up. Keep in mind that a typical T-shirt has an SPF rating lower than 15, so use other types of protection as well.

 

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Hat

For the most protection, wear a hat with a brim all the way around that shades your face, ears, and the back of your neck. A tightly woven fabric, such as canvas, works best to protect your skin from UV rays. Avoid straw hats with holes that let sunlight through. A darker hat may offer more UV protection.

If you wear a baseball cap, you should also protect your ears and the back of your neck by wearing clothing that covers those areas, using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15, or by staying in the shade.

Sunglasses

Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts. They also protect the tender skin around your eyes from sun exposure.

Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays offer the best protection. Most sunglasses sold in the United States, regardless of cost, meet this standard. Wrap-around sunglasses work best because they block UV rays from sneaking in from the side.

Photo of a woman putting sunscreen to her young daughter.

“Sunscreen isn’t an all-protective force field. It is intended to be combined with other sun-safety approaches.” Get The Truth About Sunscreen in this blog post.

Sunscreen

Put on a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15 before you go outside, even on slightly cloudy or cool days. Don’t forget to put a thick layer on all parts of exposed skin. Get help for hard-to-reach places like your back. And remember, sunscreen works best when combined with other options to prevent UV damage.

How sunscreen works. Most sunscreen products work by absorbing, reflecting, or scattering sunlight. They contain chemicals that interact with the skin to protect it from UV rays. All products do not have the same ingredients; if your skin reacts badly to one product, try another one or call a doctor.

SPF. Sunscreens are assigned a sun protection factor (SPF) number that rates their effectiveness in blocking UV rays. Higher numbers indicate more protection. You should use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15.

Reapplication. Sunscreen wears off. Put it on again if you stay out in the sun for more than two hours and after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.

Expiration date. Check the sunscreen’s expiration date. Sunscreen without an expiration date has a shelf life of no more than three years, but its shelf life is shorter if it has been exposed to high temperatures.

Cosmetics. Some makeup and lip balms contain some of the same sun-protective ingredients used in sunscreens. If they do not have at least SPF 15, be sure to use other forms of protection as well, such as sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat.

 

Photo of a man wearing a hat.
Men, especially those with lighter skin, are more likely than anybody else to get skin cancer, including melanoma—the deadliest kind of skin cancer.
Photo of a woman and her children wearing hats and long sleeved shirts.
Protect your family and yourself from skin cancer. Stay sun-safe outdoors and discourage indoor and outdoor tanning.
Photo of a school playground with shaded structures.
As an educator, you can protect students from skin cancer. Keep students sun-safe, and teach them to avoid indoor tanning.
Photo of field worker wearing a hat and a long sleeved shirt.
As an employer, you can protect workers from skin cancer by providing and encouraging sun safety and protection, which can create a healthy workplace and increase productivity.
Photo of a park official wearing a hat and a long sleeved shirt.
Protect your staff and help guests enjoy their time outdoors safely. Make sun protection the easy choice.
Protect All the Skin You’re In
Anyone, no matter their skin tone, can get skin cancer. Being physically active outside is healthy and can help prevent conditions like obesity. But it’s important to be sun smart when playing and working outdoors.

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