Once the Fourth of July hits you know Summer is officially here! The sun is shining brightly and it’s appropriate that UV Safety Awareness Month is July. We’d like to take this opportunity to highlight the risks associated with too much sun exposure and outline how our services can improve the health of your skin and even ease signs of aging!
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has named July as Ultraviolet (UV) Safety Month. Overexposure to UV rays can cause numerous health issues. In addition to the risk of skin cancer, UV rays can cause macular degeneration, cataracts, skin growths, and suppression of the immune system.
The sun emits radiation known as UV-A and UV-B rays. Both types can damage your eyes and skin:
- UV-B rays have short wavelengths that reach the outer layer of your skin
- UV-A rays have longer wavelengths that can penetrate the middle layer of your skin
Fortunately, there are things you can do to minimize the risk that comes with sun exposure.
- Cover Up: Wearing a Hat (preferably wide brimmed) or other shade-protective clothing can partly shield your skin from the harmful effects of UV ray exposure. Proper clothing may include long-sleeved shirts, pants, hats, and Sunglasses - for eye protection.
- Stay in the Shade: The sun's glare is most intense at midday. Staying in the shade between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. will further protect your skin. The sun can still damage your skin on cloudy days or in the winter. For this reason, it is important to stay protected throughout the year.
- Choose the Right Sunscreen: This is extremely important. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) new regulations for sunscreen labeling recommend that your sunscreen have a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, and should protect against both Ultraviolet A (UV-A) and Ultraviolet B (UV-B) rays.
- Use the Right Amount of Sunscreen: According to the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, most people apply only 25-50 percent of the recommended amount of sunscreen. When out in the sun, it's important that you apply at least one ounce (a palmful) of sunscreen every two hours. You should apply it more often if you are sweating or swimming, even if the sunscreen is waterproof.
In addition to these recommendations, QOMC offers comprehensive services for patients who have skin concerns that may be related to sun damage or aging. Your treatment can include vitamin supplements, hormone balance, or an anti-inflammatory diet.
Optimal vitamin levels can translate into a reduction in dark spots, redness, wrinkles, rough patches, and excessive dryness. We can check your native vitamin levels with a simple blood test and prescribe supplements that will increase the health of your skin and help heal damage.
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy has been shown to increase epidermal hydration, skin elasticity, skin thickness, and also reduces skin wrinkles. Additionally, the content and quality of collagen and the level of vascularization in the skin has been shown to be enhanced.
An anti-inflammatory diet rich in antioxidants can heal your skin from the inside out by making sure your skin has the nutrients it needs to repair and replenish itself. The number of antioxidants in your blood decreases when your skin is exposed to sunlight, so it’s important to supplement the presence of antioxidants when you know you’ll be in the sun for longer.
A consultation with our nurse practitioner, Kara Kelly, will help you determine which course of treatment is right for your specific needs!
-Information sources: va.gov, healthline.com