T's just smart to take good care of your skin

Wellness Update - - CLEVLAND CLINIC -

IThe need to pro­tect your skin from the sun has be­come very clear over the years, sup­ported by sev­eral stud­ies link­ing over­ex­po­sure to the sun with skin can­cer. The harm­ful ul­tra­vi­o­let rays from both the sun and in­door tan­ning “sun­lamps” can cause many other com­pli­ca­tions be­sides skin can­cer - such as eye prob­lems, a weak­ened im­mune sys­tem, age spots, wrin­kles, and leath­ery skin.

How to pro­tect your skin

There are sim­ple, ev­ery­day steps you can take to safe­guard your skin from the harm­ful ef­fects of UV ra­di­a­tion from the sun.

Wear­ing cloth­ing that will pro­tect your skin from the harm­ful ul­tra­vi­o­let (UV) rays is very im­por­tant. Pro­tec­tive cloth­ing like long-sleeved shirts and pants are good ex­am­ples. Also, re­mem­ber to pro­tect your head and eyes with a hat and UVre­sis­tant sun­glasses. You can fall vic­tim to sun dam­age on a cloudy day as well as in the win­ter, so dress ac­cord­ingly all year round.

Sun­burns sig­nif­i­cantly in­crease one's life­time risk of de­vel­op­ing skin can­cer. It is es­pe­cially im­por­tant that chil­dren be kept from sun­burns as well.

Stay out of the sun, if pos­si­ble, be­tween the peak burn­ing hours, which, ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ters for Disease Con­trol and Preven­tion (CDC) and the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO), are be­tween 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. You can head for the shade, or make your own shade with pro­tec­tive cloth­ing - in­clud­ing a broad-brimmed hat, for ex­am­ple.

• Wear proper cloth­ing.

• Avoid the burn.

• Go for the shade. • Use ex­tra cau­tion when near re­flec­tive sur­faces, like wa­ter, snow,

and sand.

Wa­ter, snow, sand, even the win­dows of a build­ing can re­flect the dam­ag­ing rays of the sun. That can in­crease your chance of sun­burn, even if you’re in what you con­sider a shady spot.

You can ex­pe­ri­ence more UV ex­po­sure at higher al­ti­tudes, be­cause there is less at­mos­phere to ab­sorb UV ra­di­a­tion.

Gen­er­ously ap­ply broad-spec­trum sun­screen to cover all ex­posed skin. The “broad spec­trum” va­ri­ety pro­tects against over­ex­po­sure to ul­tra­vi­o­let A (UVA) and ul­tra­vi­o­let B (UVB) rays. The FDA rec­om­mends us­ing sun­screens that are not only broad spec­trum, but that also have a sun pro­tec­tion fac­tor (SPF) value of at least 15 for pro­tec­tion against sun-in­duced skin prob­lems.

Even if a sun­screen is la­beled as "wa­ter-re­sis­tant," it must be reap­plied through­out the day, es­pe­cially af­ter sweat­ing or swim­ming. To be safe, ap­ply sun­screen at a rate of one ounce ev­ery two hours. De­pend­ing on how much of the body needs cov­er­age, a full-day (six-hour) out­ing could re­quire one whole tube of sun­screen.

• Use ex­tra cau­tion when at higher al­ti­tudes.

• Ap­ply broad-spec­trum sun­screen.

• Re-ap­ply broad-spec­trum sun­screen through­out the day.

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