Tips for sun protection to reduce your risk of skin cancer (and premature aging)-Robin Lewallen M.D.

Tips for sun protection to reduce your risk of skin cancer (and premature aging)
Skin cancer is the most common and also one of the most preventable forms of cancer worldwide. In fact, more people are diagnosed with skin cancer in the United States than all other cancers combined.
Ultraviolet (UV) light is a proven human carcinogen and it is estimated that 90% of skin aging is attributed to sun exposure. Daily sunscreen use of SPF 15 or higher has been linked to a reduction in skin cancer between 40-50% and a reduction in skin aging by 24%.
Despite all of these facts, a recent study by the American Academy of Dermatology found that only half of Americans “always” or “almost always” protect their skin when out in the sun.
While sunscreen is definitely important, there are many other ways to protect yourself from harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. These tips can reduce your risk of skin cancer and premature photoaging.
1st line of defense:
Avoid peak hours of the sun between 10am and 2pm. Check the UV index prior to sun exposure to better assess your risk.
2nd line of defense:
Seeking shade or making your own shade by bringing a tent or umbrella with you
Sun protective clothing: sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, driving gloves, lightweight long-sleeved shirts and pants, UPF clothing
Supplements: discuss with your healthcare provider if Polypodium leukotomos (Heliocare) would benefit you
Window tinting: UVA (the major contributor to photoaging) penetrates window glass and can be blocked by window tinting.
3rd line of defense:
Sunscreen: ensure that you are using an appropriate broad-spectrum SPF (30+ for daily wear and 50+ water-resistant for outdoor activities), apply a thick layer. Remember to reapply every 2 hours or after swimming or sweating.
Incorporate sunscreen application into your daily routine
Reapply sunscreen generously and often
Schedule weekend activities to avoid peak hours of the sun (10am-2pm)
Water, snow, and sand reflect and intensify the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chances of sunburn. Be extra cautious in these environments.
Cancer Facts and Figures 2019. American Cancer Society. Accessed September 25, 2019.
lor CR, Stern RS, Leyden JJ, Gilchrest BA. Photoaging/photodamage and photoprotection. J Am Acad Dermatol 1990; 22:1-15.
Green AC, Williams GM, Logan V, Strutton GM. Reduced melanoma after regular sunscreen use: randomized trial follow-up. J Clin Oncol 2011; 29(3):257-263.
Hughes MCB, Williams GM, Baker P, Green AC. Sunscreen and prevention of skin aging: a randomized trial. Ann Intern Med 2013; 158(11):781-790.

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