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Enjoy summer wisely:The truth about sun and sun protection

I love the summer. Bare foot days at the beach, kayaking the springs and soaking in the sun. When I was younger, I'd laugh at my bright red complexion and secretly enjoyed peeling the loose skin. Growing older and a bit wiser, I now know the importance of protecting myself from the UV (ultraviolet) radiation within those warming beams. I have also learned the importance of choosing the right sunscreen. Sunlight contains UVA, UVB, and UVC radiation which is not visible to the naked eye. UVA radiation rays penetrate deeply into the skin, and are associated with premature aging and increased risk of skin cancer. These rays are equally as intense throughout the year and easily penetrate through clouds and glass. UVB radiation affects the outer layers of the skin, causing sunburns and also increased risk of skin cancer. These rays are more intense, however, they are reduced by cloud cover and do not easily penetrate glass. UVC is absorbed in the ozone layer and don't reach the Earth. Since both UVA and UVB rays are harmful, it's important to protect against both. Sunscreens are typically measured by SPF (sun protection factor). SPF refers to the amount of time until the skin reddens and only indicates blocking potential for UVB radiation. So while it's important to have a SPF of 35 or higher, it's equally important to make sure that sunscreen ingredients contain zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, avobenzone, or ecamsule (Mexoryl) which provides protection against UVA radiation. Additionally, many are concerned about chemicals and possible sensitivities from sunscreens. However, sensitivities are most often associated with the product's base and not its active ingredients. Therefore, even patients with sensitive skin can find an effective sunscreen. So get out and wisely enjoy the summer days. Wear sunscreen with quality ingredients and protect yourself from harmful effects of UVA and UVB radiation.

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