Scientists have found that the skin damage caused by UV rays does not stop once you get out of the sun. Cancer-causing damage, wrought by ultraviolet radiation from sunlight or tanning beds, continues to occur up to three of four hours after exposure due to chemical changes involving the pigment melanin.
Many people choose to get a tan for appearances, or because melanin was formerly known to play a protective role by absorbing much of the UV energy before it penetrated the skin.
“The unusual chemical properties of melanin that make it a good UV absorber also make it susceptible to other chemical reactions that just happen to have the same end result as the UV, ” said Douglas Brash, a Therapeutic Radiology and Dermatology Professor at the Yale School of Medicine.
In his recent study, researchers exposed mouse and human melanocytes to radiation from a UV lamp. The cells experienced DNA damage immediately, but the damage also continued for hours following the radiation. In fact, half of the damage occurred in the hours after exposure. The concern arises that UV exposure that causes DNA damage may spurn cancer-causing mutations in melanin-producing cells called melanocytes.
So, now it is even more important to protect your skin from UV damage. Maybe even twice as important.
Remember to protect your skin & learn these Sun Protection Facts:
- Repeated exposure to UVA and UVB rays causes damage to the cells of the epidermis resulting in the production of wrinkles, age spots and actual skin cancers.
- Cumulative sun damage can lead to basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma.
- Physical Sun blocks (Zinc Oxide &Titanium Dioxide) provide broad spectrum protection blocking both UVA and UVB rays and are gentle enough for daily use.
- Chemical Sunscreens are combinations of many active ingredients with no single chemical ingredient blocking the entire UV spectrum (unlike physical sun blocks)
- Sunblocks are only effective if you use them appropriately every day.
- Even on a cloudy day, up to 80% of the sun’s UV rays can pass through the clouds.
- Apply SPF 15-20 minutes before sun exposure to allow a protective film to develop.
- Re-apply every 2 hours or after excessive sweating or swimming
- Use enough sunscreen to generously coat all exposed skin.
- Try to avoid sun exposure between10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the strongest sun of the day.
- Seek shade when your shadow is shorter than you are.
- Snow and Sand can increase the need for sunscreen due to their reflective properties.
- Protect your skin by wearing long sleeves, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses whenever possible.
- Check your cities UV index to determine your risk.