Avoid sunburn and skin cancer

We live in Bermuda and have plenty of sunshine! Sunlight, however, contains damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays, such as UVA and UVB. UV rays could damage our skin and eyes, as well as lead to cancer. Here is now to enjoy the outdoors safely!

avoid sunburn and skin cancer

Protect your eyes

We expose our eyes to danger every day, just by spending time outside. Over time, the UV rays can damage the eyes and cause vision loss, cataracts, macular degeneration and eyelid cancers.

Wear sunglasses out in the sun. Sunglasses should block 99-100 percent of both UVA and UVB light. Cheap shades that do not block UV rays increase the risk of eye damage, since they cause the pupils to dilate and let in more UV rays. Also wear a hat with at least a 3-inch brim. Hats can block up to half of all UVB rays from eyes and eyelids.

Use a sunscreen

Read the labels in order to choose a broad- spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB. Choose a product with SPF of 1 5 or higher; SPF 30 or higher is better for extended stays outdoors. Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours or after swimming or heavy sweating; also look for water-resistant product when necessary.

Dress up

Clothing can block or absorb the sun’s harmful UV rays. The more skin you cover, the better. A long- sleeved shirt covers more skin than a t-shirt, especially if it has a high neckline or collar that shields the back of the neck. Likewise, long pants protect more skin than shorts.

Pay attention to UPF - Ultraviolet Protection Factor. It tells what fraction of the sun’s UV rays can penetrate the fabric. A shirt with a UPF of 50, for example, allows just 1/50th of the sun’s UV radiation to reach the skin. Denser fabrics usually block more UV rays than lighter ones.

Here are a few more tips on sun protection:

  • Seek shade, especially between 10 am and 4 pm.
  • Do not allow your skin to burn.
  • Avoid tanning and UV tanning beds.
  • Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside.
  • Keep newborns out of the sun. Use sunscreen on babies over the age of six months.
  • Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.

See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.