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Sun Protection Tips

According to US FDA, the best way to protect your skin from the dangerous effects of UV radiation is to make sun protection part of your daily routine. Understanding your skin condition before applying sun protection to it. It is often be neglected that certain oral and topical medicines, including antibiotics, birth control, and benzoyl peroxide products can increase the sensitivity of your skin and eyes to UV rays. FDA suggests to check the label on your medicines and discuss the risks with your doctor. Also, certain cosmetics that contain alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) may increase sun sensitivity and susceptibility to sunburn. Look for FDA's recommended sun alert statement on products that contain AHAs.

There are some basic methods of sun protection and tips for integrating sun protection.

1. Avoid overexposure to UV rays from both natural and artificial sources.

2. Plan your outdoor activities to avoid the sun's strongest rays. As a rule, seek shade and remember that the sun's UV rays are the strongest between 10am and 4pm. You can also use the “shadow rule”; the sun's UV rays are strongest when the shadow you cast on the ground is shorter than you are.

3. Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand because they reflect damaging UV rays and increase your chance of sunburn and other damage to the skin and eyes.

4. Wear protective clothing such as wide-brimmed hats, and long pants and long-sleeved shirts made of tightly-woven fabric to reduce sun exposure.

5. Wear sunglasses that provide 100% UV ray protection (look for models that advertise both UVB and UVA protection).

6. Use a broad-spectrum (protecting from both UVA and UVB) sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or greater to protect uncovered skin. For best results, apply the sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure and reapply every 1-1/2 to 2 hours even on cloudy days and after swimming or sweating. Both selection of the sunscreen and re-applications are important.

7. Carefully examine all of your skin once a month. Early detection of melanoma can save your life. A new or changing skin lesion should be evaluated by a dermatologist.

8. See a dermatologist if you notice an unusual mole, a scaly patch, or a sore with local persistent bleeding or that does not heal. This may be a pre-cancer or a skin cancer. If you develop severe itching or rashes in the sun, this may be an allergic reaction.

(Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration)

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