Dear HCCUA Members:
Summer is approaching! Time to bring out the bug spray, hats, and most importantly, sunblock. The mystery linked between sunlight and different skin types can astonish us all. As the numbers grow to approximately 4.5 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer diagnosed each year in the United States, and more than 96,480 cases of melanoma expected in 2019, there is no doubt that we must pay attention to the importance of taking care of our skin when under the sun.
Although skin cancer risk factors are present every day, the dangers are greater during the long days of summer when you may spend more time in the sun. Sunlight comes in three different forms: infrared, visible light, and ultraviolet. Ultraviolet is classified into three categories known as UVA (known as black light, which causes tanning), UVB (which causes damage in the form of sunburn), and UVC (which is filtered out by the atmosphere and never reaches us). 99% of the sun’s UV radiation at sea level is UVA. It is the UVB that causes most of the problems related to sun exposure such as aging, wrinkles, and cancer, however recent studies show an increasingly implication by UVA as well.
People need Vitamin D in order for their bodies to grow and function properly. Vitamin D helps the body metabolize calcium. One way to get Vitamin D is through cod liver oil. This was commonly prescribed before the advent of Vitamin D fortified milk. Another way is to expose your skin to ultraviolet light. The key is to wear sunscreens and reapply at least every two hours or more often if you are in and out of the water or sweating.
Sunscreens block or absorb ultraviolet light. You should apply it about half an hour before going out in the sun or the water so it can bind to your skin. If you don’t, then it is very easy for the sunscreen to wash off. Remember that the SPF rating applies only to UVB radiation.
Besides using sunscreens from SPF 30 or above, it also important that you apply it generously. Make sure to cover the arms, legs, neck and face. Don’t forget your ears, hands, feet and underarms. It is also suggested that you wear hats, sunglasses, cover up with clothing, and seek shade especially during the hours of 10 am – 4 pm.
In addition, protect yourself on cool or cloudy days. Damaging rays are not inhibited by clouds or shades by trees, you can still get burned because ultraviolet light can penetrate cloud cover and the rays reflected off the sand, snow, concrete and many other surfaces. Ultraviolet light is not reflected by water, but it can easily penetrate water, so being in the water doesn’t protect you either.
Take into consideration that some prescription drugs such as tetracycline and diuretics can make your skin extra sensitive to sun exposure and increase the risk of sunburn. Make sure to talk to your doctor or pharmacist about this possibility if you are taking any medications.
Included in your e-Newsletter you will find an article on Skincare Tips to keep your skin looking rejuvenated all summer long, as well as a summer delight by Delish.com/cooking/recipes – Flank Steak with Watermelon Salad to help maintain a lean summer body. Enjoy your summer and protect yourself from the harsh sun!
Kristine Eckardt, Director of Member Communications