Eastside Medical Group May 22, 2015

Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can damage your skin in as few as 15 minutes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While sunlight provides vital vitamin D and can lift our moods, too much sun exposure can raise one’s risk for serious health issues such as premature skin aging, eye damage, a weakened immune system and skin cancer.

Here’s how to protect yourself from the sun’s damaging UV rays and avoid increased risk for skin cancer:

  • Wear protective, loose-fitting clothing, such as long pants and long-sleeve shirts. Also, wear a wide-brim hat and 100 percent UV protection sunglasses to safeguard your head and eyes.
  • Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) rating of 15 or higher about every two hours. Choose a “broad spectrum” sunscreen to protect your skin from ultraviolet A (long wavelength) and ultraviolet B (short wavelength) rays. Use waterproof sunscreen if you plan to swim or expect you will perspire heavily.
  • Seek shade whenever possible, but especially during the peak sunlight hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., even on cloudy days and in the wintertime. Check the daily UV Index forecast issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and plan accordingly.
  • Examine your skin monthly and get a professional examination once a year to check for any new growths.