Sun Protection Tips: Maintain Healthy Skin

According to the Academy of Dermatology, almost one in five Americans is expected to develop some type of skin cancer in his or her lifetime. Each year, more than one million new cases are diagnosed in the United States and over 10,000 people will die from this disease each year.

With the thinning of the ozone layer and the multitude of artificial tanning salons, skin cancer is now a year-round danger. The National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization report that both UVA (which deeply penetrate the skin and cause the most genetic damage) and UVB (the rays that burn) rays can cause cancer.

One way to maintain healthy skin is to avoid tanning salons. Indoor tanning salons claim that their method of tanning, by artificial sun, is safer than natural tanning because they mainly use UVA rays and limit the exposure with timers. A Dartmouth Medical School study of close to 900 skin cancer patients found that using any tanning device increased the risk of one type skin cancer by 150 percent and other types by 50 percent.

For exposure to the natural sun, or time outdoors, sunscreen is the key to avoiding sunburn or sun damage. Sunscreen is a chemical barrier that helps prevent UV radiation from reaching the skin. Also, when choosing a sunscreen, it is important that you purchase one with combined ingredients that protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Along with this protection, look for a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher to ensure adequate protection. Sunscreen should be applied 30 minutes prior to sun exposure in order to allow the protection to fully protect the sin. Then, reapply every one to two hours, after swimming and after heaving sweating (even if your sunscreen is labeled waterproof).

Along with sunscreen, when outdoors cover your skin. Dark colored clothing will block more UV rays than thinner, light colored fabrics. Wear a hat to protect your eyes and face. UV-blocking sunglasses with wraparound frames provide added protection to your eyelids and the skin around your eyes. Good sunglasses also help reduce the risk of developing cataracts.

If your plan is to spend the day in the sun, whether at a ball game or the beach, consider a UV protection umbrella that offers the best UV protection. More information on different types of UV protection umbrellas can be found at