August is Summer Sun Safety Month and that means a refresher course in the power of the sun as well as the importance of SPF.
We’re giving you all the tools you need to stay safe and enjoy the sunshine while the season winds down.
What are UV Rays and why do they matter?
There are three types of UV rays: UVA, UVB, and UVC rays. The first two— UVA and UVB— are the two that cause sun damage and skin cancer.
UVA: These rays are longer and are what causes the skin to tan. Unfortunately, these rays also age skin cells and they are linked to damage such as wrinkles and some skin cancers. UVA sun damage can be sneaky. You may not feel any pain or discomfort, but your skin is still being damaged.
UVB: These rays are shorter have slightly more energy than UVA rays. They are the rays that cause sunburns and are also thought to cause most skin cancers.
It’s important to protect against both to ensure minimal skin damage.
What is SPF?
Unprotected sun exposure can cause wrinkles, fine lines, brown spots, and more severely, lead to skin cancer. SPF, or the Sun Protection Factor measures how well a sunscreen protects you from harmful rays.
- SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays
- SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays
- SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays
Choosing SPF over 30 is a must if you plan on being in the sunshine for a prolonged period of time, and SPF 50 is a great option for sensitive areas such as your face. Additionally, don’t forget to wear SPF even on cloudy days as sun damage can still occur.
What sunscreen is best?
There are two different types of sunscreen: physical and chemical.
Physical sunscreen: This type sits on top of the skin and reflects the sun’s rays. It is ideal for those with or sensitive skin, and while it can be harder to blend into the skin, physical sunscreens tend to be more moisturizing.
Chemical sunscreen: This type absorbs into the skin and absorbs UV rays. Chemical sunscreens absorb into the skin quicker and are typically water-resistant and sweat-proof, so if you’re the active type, this may be the better option.
Whichever you choose, be sure to regularly reapply if you’re outside for an extended period of time. It may seem like a lot of information to take in, but knowing how to protect your skin from sun damage is valuable.
How will I know I’m safe?
Just like getting regular physicals and going to the dentist every six months, paying a visit to your dermatologist for a skin check is important, necessary, and non-negotiable. We recommend a skin check every year or two to ensure that you’re free of cancerous lesions.
During the skin check, we will check you from head to toe for any abnormal, new, or irregular spots and/or moles. A skin cancer growth can appear in many forms such as a new, expanding, or changing growth, spot, or bump on the skin or a wart that has shifted in color or size.
Enjoy the sunshine safely without worry. Give us a call with any questions you may have, and book an appointment for your skin check: (727) 545-3376.