Sun exposure is a double-edged sword; sunlight provides necessary vitamin D, but ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage skin after just 15 minutes. In recognition of UV Safety Month, read the following FAQs to ensure you're keeping your family protected this summer.
What are UV rays?
Ultraviolet radiation from sunlight reaches the earth's surface in the form of two types of UV rays. Long-wave UVA rays penetrate the skin's deepest layer, known as the dermis. They're also responsible for aging cells and causing wrinkles. Shortwave UVB rays can burn the superficial layers of skin. Both types damage skin cells and can lead to cancer.
When is UV light strongest?
Damaging ultraviolet rays peak between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you want to check their strength, observe your shadow. When rays are strongest, your shadow will appear shorter than you are. You can also get a local forecast by checking the UV index online.
What SPF should I use?
Many experts recommend making a daily habit of using creams, lotions, sprays and lip balms with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Always select sunscreens with broad-spectrum protection, which shield against both UVA and UVB rays. And to ensure maximum effectiveness, buy new sunscreen products each year.
How often should sunscreen be reapplied?
Even sweat- and water-resistant sunscreens require reapplication to remain useful. Lather up after swimming, sweating and drying off or every two hours.
Do windows in the car, home and office protect against UV rays?
Windows partially block UV light, but many are ineffective at screening UVA rays. Aftermarket window tinting and making a habit of wearing sun protection can help.