Faith Schiltz – a nurse practitioner for Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center, who previously worked in dermatology – hopes to debunk many of those misconceptions and encourage better habits for healthier skin and to help prevent skin cancer.
Here are Faith’s tips and tidbits for UV Safety Month in July:
RAIN, SNOW OR SHINE?
Did you know that there are UVA and UVB rays?
UVB rays cause sunburns. UVB rays can be deflected somewhat by heavy cloud cover, so people may not get a sunburn on really cloudy days; whereas, on sunny days, they get a sunburn. However, a lot of people don’t know about UVA rays. These rays slice right through cloud cover and reach the earth.
UVA rays penetrate deeper and can over a period of time and/or repeated exposure can cause cell damage and is what over time can lead to skin cancer, wrinkles, sagging skin (skin laxity), and brown age spots.
That is why it is so important to wear sunscreen every day, whether it’s cloudy or not, even if you are only going to be outside for 10 minutes.
I recommend starting your day by applying a daily moisturizer that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 in it to any exposed skin surfaces, like the face, ears, neck, upper chest, arms and hands. And protect your eyes by always wearing sunglasses with UV protection lenses when you are outside!
WHO, WHAT, WHEN and WHERE?
What should you know about sunblock/sunscreen?
- Children 6 months old and up should wear sunscreen if they are going to be outside.
- Broad spectrum is important – you want to block both UVA and UVB rays.
- SPF of at least 30 (at least 50 spf if you are fair-skinned, blue-eyed, and or red-haired).
- Apply at least 15 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours.
- Apply everywhere that is going to be exposed to UVA or UVB rays.
- Hats with a wide brim that shades your face, ears and neck.
- Sun/swim shirts – I encourage these for all ages, especially for those who will be out on or in the water. You should purchase a new one each year.
- Zinc-containing sunblock for thinner skinned or more sunburn sensitivity areas like the lips, nose, ears, chest and neck.
- Sunglasses with UV protection lenses for all ages.
The SKINny on SUNBURNS and TANNING
Are sunburns, tanning or using tanning beds hazardous to your health?
- A significant sunburn at a young age increases the risk for skin cancer later in life.
- Sun lamps and tanning beds are known causes of skin cancer. Using a tanning bed just once before the age of 35 increases your risk of skin cancer and melanoma by almost 60%, and the risk increases with each use.
- UV exposure (without sunscreen) and tanning bed use damages the DNA in your skin’s cells and over time causes premature aging of skin and can damage your eyes (causing issues like cataracts, pterygiums (tissue growth on the eye) and even melanoma on the eye).
FAMOUS LAST WORDS . . .
Here are other tips and tidbits that I would like you to know:
- Lead by example. Your kids are always watching and listening – even though it may not always seem like it😊.
- Between 10 a.m.-4 p.m. is when UVA and UVB rays are the strongest.
- Some people may think, “I don’t burn or I tan easily, so I don’t need to wear sunscreen.” No, everyone needs to wear sunscreen. Remember what I said earlier about there being UVA and UVB rays?
- Come and see me! You should examine your skin monthly and be examined once a year by a medical provider – more often if there is a personal or family history of skin cancer.