The Sun Is Out In Any Season So Protect Your Skin Year-Round

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As we all know, much study has been devoted to the effects of the sun on our skin. That wonderful, warm sun that we love to bask in and play in can cause significant damage to our skin. But if we are not careful, injury can occur, such as first or second degree burns. Spots and wrinkles can present themselves far sooner than they otherwise would. And most concerning is the increased risk for cancer, or carcinoma.

Peter Richel, MD, Westchester Health Pediatrics, sun protection, protect your skin from sun, sunscreen

Peter Richel, MD

To protect our skin, we all must make a consistent, concerted effort to block the sun’s rays

This can be done by physical or chemical means with over-the-counter products. With the right ingredients, both types of sun blockade will protect from all UV rays.  This is key — we need protection from both UV-A and UV-B.

Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide block the rays as physical barriers, while avobenzone (Parsol 1789) provides chemical blockade.

Products to find and use, as recommended by dermatologists, include Australian Blue Lizard, Coppertone Sport, Neutrogena Ultra Sheer and Neutrogena Sensitive Skin.

Be sure to always use a 30 SPF (sun-protection factor) and apply lots of it!

Equally as important as the best product is the manner in which we use it. Sunscreen should be applied liberally over all sun-exposed surfaces, ideally 30 minutes prior to going outside. This allows for absorption prior to exposure.

Don’t forget to re-apply sunscreen

Most of us don’t take the time to reapply, but we all should reapply hourly if possible, especially if we (or our children) are getting wet. Once wet, the blockade is diluted, and you are at increased risk again.

Try to avoid the midday hours of 11am-1pm when the sun is strongest

Don’t be fooled by a cloudy day — the rays still get to our skin! Also, it has long been thought inadvisable to apply sunscreen to infants less than 6 months of age. This is actually not at all true, so do apply sunscreen to young infants as you would to any family member. As always, avoid your baby’s eyes when applying.

Enjoy the wonderful weather and have fun in the sun, but always remember to protect your skin, and the skin of your loved ones.

By Peter Richel, MD, FAAP, a pediatrician with Westchester Health Pediatrics.

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About the Author: ML Ball