We’ve all heard about the damaging effects of the sun’s harmful UV rays, but are we actually paying attention to the details? What better experts to trust than the World Health Organization (WHO) when you’re in need of reliable medical information. According to WHO, “Prolonged human exposure to solar UV radiation may result in acute and chronic health effects on the skin, eye and immune system. Sunburn (erythema) is the best-known acute effect of excessive UV radiation exposure. Over the longer term, UV radiation induces degenerative changes in cells of the skin, fibrous tissue and blood vessels leading to premature skin aging, photodermatoses and actinic keratoses. Another long-term effect is an inflammatory reaction of the eye. In the most serious cases, skin cancer and cataracts can occur.”
How can we protect ourselves?
Seek shade: especially between 10 am and 4 pm when the sun is strongest. If you’re outside during the day, look for a shady spot underneath an umbrella, awning or tree.
Clothing can be the most effective form of sun protection: Loosely fitting, long sleeve shirts and pants are imperative to keep the UV rays from penetrating your skin.
Wear a broad-brimmed hat: A hat can provide additional shade to your face, chest, and neck and also protect your scalp from UV radiation.
Use sunscreen: For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant formula with an SPF of 30 or higher. Make sure the label states “broad spectrum” which means it protects against UVA and UVB rays.
Use enough sunscreen: For adequate protection, apply one ounce (two tablespoons, about a shot glass full) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating.
Protect your eyes: Wearing UV-blocking sunglasses can help to protect your eyes from developing cataracts, growths on the eye, and cancer. Sun damage to eyes can occur anytime during the year, not just in the summertime, so be sure to wear UV-blocking sunglasses whenever you’re outside.
The Woodruff Institute for Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery offers quality skin care products in their Naples, Bonita Springs and Fort Myers locations. Licensed medical aestheticians will meet with clients to perform skin assessments to determine the best products for their skin type and concerns. Of course, the first product every dermatologists recommends is sunscreen. Since not all sunscreens are the same, it’s important to ask your dermatologist which sunscreens are best for you.
For your convenience and to simplify your shopping experience, the Woodruff Institute carries the following products:
Elta MD sunscreens: EltaMD is a broad-spectrum suncare line for all skin types, which blocks out both UVA and UVB rays.
BloqUV Suncare clothing: BloqUV sun shirts are not only stylish, but are made of the highest quality fabrics and block out 98% of the sun’s harmful rays.
Wallaroo sun protective hats: Wallaroo offers an elegant line of hats for adults and a fun selection of children’s hats. Wallaroo hats are highly recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation because they offer an SPF protection of 50. Not only do they provide adequate shade, but they also protect your scalp, which is one of the main areas a skin cancer can hide.
Last but definitely not least, you must make certain to have an annual skin cancer screening, because although sun protection efforts can help decrease your chances of skin cancer, melanoma can hide in odd places, like the bottom of your feet or behind your ears. Having a dermatologist scan your body is worth the ten minutes it takes to save your life. The Woodruff Institute recommends setting automatic reminders on your phone. For those less tech savvy, they recommend trying to make your appointment close to your birthday or anniversary, so it’s easy to remember.
Please call our toll free number at 844.485.0104 for a consultation with one of our board-certified dermatologists at one of our offices in Naples, Bonita Springs, or Fort Myers.