Protecting Yourself in the Sun
YAWAR HASSAN KHAN
Sunlight contains ultraviolet (UV) radiation,
which causes premature aging of the skin,
wrinkles, cataracts, and skin cancer. The amount
of damage from UV exposure depends on the
strength of the light, the length of exposure, and
whether the skin is protected. There are no safe
UV rays or safe suntans.
Sun exposure at any age can cause skin cancer. Be
especially careful in the sun if you burn easily, spend a lot of time outdoors, or have any of the following
Numerous, irregular, or large moles.
Blond, red, or light brown hair.
It’s important to examine your body monthly because
skin cancers detected early can almost always be cured.
The most important warning sign is a spot on the skin
that is changing in size, shape, or color during a period
of 1 month to 1 or 2 years.
Skin cancers often take the following forms:
Pale, wax-like, pearly nodules.
Red, scaly, sharply outlined patches.
Sores that don’t heal.
Small, mole-like growths—melanoma,
the most serious type of skin cancer.
If you find such unusual skin changes, see a health
care professional immediately
Block Out UV Rays
Cover up.Wear tightly-woven clothing that blocks
out light. Try this test: Place your hand between a
single layer of the clothing and a light source. If
you can see your hand through the fabric, the
garment offers little protection.
Use sunscreen. A sun protection factor (SPF) of at
least 15 blocks 93 percent of UV rays. You want to
block both UVA and UVB rays to guard against skin
cancer. Be sure to follow application directions
on the bottle.
Wear a hat. A wide brim hat (not a baseball cap)
is ideal because it protects the neck, ears, eyes,
forehead, nose, and scalp.
Wear UV-absorbent shades. Sunglasses don’t
have to be expensive, but they should block 99 to
100 percent of UVA and UVB radiation.
Limit exposure. UV rays are most intense
between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you’re unsure about
the sun’s intensity, take the shadow test: If your
shadow is shorter than you, the sun’s rays are
the day’s strongest