Patient EducationAug | 14 | 2019
Protecting Your Skin From the Sun
What is sun safety?
Sun safety is all the different ways you can protect your skin from the sun. You should protect your skin from the sun all year, not just in sunny weather.
Why do I need to protect my skin from the sun?
Protecting your skin during your teen years can set you up for healthier skin now and later in life.
Here is that happens when you protect your skin from the sun as a teen:
- You will have healthier skin now and later in life. This means no sunburns, less dry skin, fewer wrinkles and fewer sun spots (brown spots on your skin caused by being out in the sun).
- You protect your eyes. Your eyes can get damaged by the sun more easily than other parts of your body. Sunglasses can help protect your eyes from sun damage and a certain type of sunburn called phytokeratitis (when the surface of your eye gets burned from the sun).
- Your risk of skin cancer is much lower if you protect your skin now. Your risk of skin cancer is also lower if you make protecting your skin part of your routine every day.
How can I protect my skin from the sun?
- Wear sunscreen every day, even when it’s not sunny out. You can also use lotion with sunscreen in it. The sun still shines through the clouds, which means it can still damage your skin.
- Use sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher. SPF means Sun Protection Factor. The higher the SPF, the more protection the sunscreen has.
- Reapply sunscreen every 2-3 hours. This is important when it’s sunny out during the year and during the summer. Carry a small tube of sunscreen with you wherever you go. Make it a habit to put sunscreen on every day.
- Stay out of the sun as much as you can between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. This is when the sun is the strongest.
- Wear sunglasses with UV protection! Sunglasses with UV protection (protection from the sun’s rays) protect you from sun damage and phytokeratitis. The darkness or size of your sunglasses has nothing to do with how well they protect your eyes.
- Stay away from tanning salons! Tanning beds and tanning booths can be just as damaging as the sun. They can also cause skin cancer. If you want a natural-looking tan, use self-tanning lotions, sprays or gels.
- Wear long sleeves, pants and loose clothing with a tight weave. Long sleeves and pants have the best protection. Clothing with a tight weave blocks the sun better than clothing with a loose weave. To tell if clothing has a tight weave, hold it up to a light. The less light you can see through it, the tighter the weave.
Did you know...?
You should wear sunscreen, no matter what color your skin is. Sun damage, including sunburns and skin cancer, affects teens and adults of every color and skin tone.
Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in teens. Skin cancer is most often caused by not protecting your skin from the sun or from using tanning salons often.
A note for your parents...
When helping your teen get into the habit of protecting his/her skin from the sun, the most important thing you can do is to set a good example yourself.
You can also keep a bottle of sunscreen in the bathroom or by the front door. This can be a reminder for your family to put on sunscreen before leaving the house. If your teen plays sports, pack a bottle of sunscreen in his/her sports back or backpack.
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