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Sarasota Dermatology Blog

Some helpful facts about the sun…and its harmful UVA and UVB rays

Posted on 18. Jul, 2013 by in Melanoma, Skin Cancer, Skin Conditions, Sunburn, Sunscreen


For adequate protection against melanoma, nonmelanoma skin cancers and photoaging, everyone over the age of six months should use sunscreen daily year-round, in any weather. (Infants should be kept out of the sun or protected with clothing and an umbrella or stroller hood.)

90% of skin cancers are caused by the sun’s rays

Overcast days are not much safer than sunny days – 70-80% of the ultraviolet rays can get through clouds.

The sun is around 80% stronger when reflected off sand and snow.

The sun’s rays increase in intensity about 4% for every 1000 foot rise in altitude

It’s better to engage in outdoor activities before 10am or after 4pm.  Try to avoid being out at noon.

The sun weakens the immune system, reducing your defense against skin infections.

These facts were compiled by Elta MD, a mineral formulated  sunscreen company.



Elta MD is dermatologist recommended sunscreen

Elta MD Sunscreen line is sold at Abrams Dermatology

Mineral based sunscreens are preferred over chemical based sunscreens by Dermatologists. Mineral based sunscreens use Zinc oxide (ZnO) or Titanium dioxide (TiO2) to filter the harmful UV rays.  They do this by deflecting or blocking the rays from your skin rather than absorbing the rays as chemical sunscreens do.   Always look for a sunscreen that states it is broad spectrum and protects from both the  UVA and UVB  rays.  UVA rays are the rays that cause premature aging and long term sun damage.  A = aging.  These rays are strong and always surround us.  They penetrate through our windows in our vehicles and our homes. They are not affected by changes in weather or altitude. UVB rays are the rays that cause sunburns and/or suntans.  B=burning.  These rays are more prevalent in the summer months. UVB rays increase in areas higher in altitude and that are nearer to the equator.  UVB rays are connected to 90% of non-melanoma skin cancers and have also been linked to cataracts. SPF factors on sunscreen labels indicate mainly  the level of protection from UVB rays.  The FDA is working on new labeling requirements that will measure the amount of UVA protection.  An SPF 30 is considered good protection for our daily routine – running errands around town, going to and from work.  A higher SPF level would be desirable when engaging in outdoor activities,  but the key to real protection from the ultraviolet rays is to reapply any sunscreen while being outdoors every 2 hours.  No sunscreen is water proof or sweat proof.

When to apply sunscreen

Reapplication of sunscreen is just as important as putting it on in the first place, so reapply the same amount every two hours. Sunscreens should also be reapplied immediately after swimming, toweling off, or sweating a great deal.

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