Sun exposure is necessary for life; however, too much can increase the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. This means anyone, regardless of race or ethnicity, is subject to potential adverse effects of overexposure to the sun.
Therefore, precautions should be taken. Certainly, some individuals are more vulnerable than others. For instance, individuals with larger number of freckles and moles have a higher risk of developing skin cancer, blistering sun burns during childhood significantly increase the risk of developing skin cancer later in life, certain diseases like lupus make a person more sensitive to sun exposure and certain medications like antibiotics and antihistamines can cause extra sensitivity too.
Due to the fact that there is no evidence that sunscreens protect you from all types of skin cancers, we recommend the following:-
• Use sunscreens with broad spectrum SPF values of 15 or higher
• Generously apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before sun exposure (don’t forget about lips, ears, feet, hands, bald spots, and the back of the neck)
• Reapply at least every 2 hours and after each time a person gets out of the water or perspires heavily
• Limit time in the sun between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm when the sun’s rays are most intense
• Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun when possible
• Watch for high UV index from local weather stations or newspapers (11 is extreme)
• Use extra caution near snow, water, and sand because sun exposure is increased by reflecting incoming UV rays
• Wear protective clothing, wide brimmed hats, and sunglasses with UV protection
• Take breaks in shaded areas
• Throw away sunscreens after 1-2 years (they lose potency)
• Avoid using insect repellents with sunscreens as it may alter the effectiveness of some sunscreens
• And remember that sunscreen performance is affected by wind, humidity, perspiration and proper application