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Tips To Protect Your Skin From The Sun’s Damaging Rays


With the increase in outdoor activities during the summer, a UT Southwestern Medical Center cancer specialist reminds you to protect your skin from sun damage.

Skin cancer is mainly caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun. And while it is the most common of all cancers in the U.S., it is also one of the most avoidable forms of the disease.

“Overexposure to ultraviolet radiation is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer, but skin cancer’s incidence rates continue to rise,” said Rohit Sharma, M.D., Associate Professor of Surgery at UT Southwestern who specializes in melanoma, soft-tissue sarcoma, and other complex cancers. Dr. Sharma is also a member of the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center.

About 1 in 5 Americans will get skin cancer by the age of 70, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. People with fair skin as well as those with naturally blond or red hair are at greater risk. People who use tanning beds or spend time exposed to the sun without protection are also more likely to get cancer.


To be safe in the sun, Dr. Sharma recommends:

Generously apply sunscreen to all exposed skin each day using a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays and has an SPF of at least 30.

Be sure to use enough sunscreen for adequate protection. The skin should be reasonably saturated to assure coverage — typically a shot glass full of lotion.

Pay attention to the water-resistant profile of the individual sunscreen. When exercising or swimming, you will need to observe this time frame for reapplication. At a minimum, reapply every two hours, even on cloudy days. This applies to both lotions and sprays.

Avoid tanning outdoors or using tanning beds indoors. Ultraviolet light from tanning beds and the sun causes damage such as skin cancer and wrinkling. Use a sunless self-tanning product instead.

Wear protective clothing, including long sleeves, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat that shades the face, ears, and neck when outdoors.

Check for any medications that you take that have any extra sensitivity to the sun’s rays.

Seek shade and remember that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. — Newswise

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