Sunscreen information and protection from the sun

Everyone should protect themselves from the sun by using a sunscreen every day, even those who work in areas that are covered and exposed to the sun for short periods. Also, most windows do not block UVA rays.

What is sunscreen and how does it work?

Sunscreens that are applied to the skin are part of the most widely used forms of sun protection and are intended to prevent ultraviolet radiation.

Sunscreen, also called sunblock, is a topical product that can be found in various forms, either as a cream, gel, spray, lotion, or other topical, containing physical agents such as titanium dioxide and a variety of chemical compounds that prevent or avoid ultraviolet (UV) rays emanating from the sun from affecting our skin.

Sunscreens are composed of this mixture of both chemical and physical products because they could not protect individually against the full spectrum of UVA and UVB radiation. UVB rays are the cause of skin damage and increase the risk of skin cancer, while UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin and contribute to the appearance of wrinkles, loss of elasticity and other consequences of photo-aging.

Sunscreen compounds work in the following way:

Their chemical compounds absorb the radiation preventing it from being absorbed by the skin. While the physical compounds of the sunscreen work as a screen that reflects and disperses the radiation.

How much and how often should sunscreen be used?

Scientific studies to test sunscreens are conducted with 2 mg of the product for every 2 cm of skin.

For an average body, it is calculated that you should apply 1 oz, which is approximately equivalent to a shot glass or two tablespoons.

As it is difficult to calculate the amount to be applied on the skin when you are outdoors, it is recommended that you apply the sunscreen until a visible white layer is left on the skin.

If spending time at the beach, use at least half of an 8 oz. bottle.

Of course, for better protection from the sun, we should increase the amount of sunscreen applied.

Sunscreens should be applied a minimum of 30 minutes before exposing yourself to the sun, this is so that the compounds are absorbed by the skin; it is important to note that it is essential that the sunscreen be reapplied in equal amounts to the first application every two hours, it should also be reapplied after sweating or immediately after finishing swimming since the product loses its effectiveness with water.

Some sunscreens are water-resistant, these must be able to withstand at least two 20-minute baths, although these are studies conducted in laboratories, without moving much and with greater quantity.

Other forms of protection against the sun:
-Find the shadow:

It is of utmost importance to limit exposure to ultra-violet light by avoiding direct sunlight for a prolonged time.

-Protect your skin with your clothes:

When outdoors, wear clothing to cover the skin, avoiding direct contact with the sun. Clothing helps in different ways as protection against UV rays. The most effective clothing items are long trousers, long-sleeved shirts, and long skirts, as well as dark-colored clothing that protects better than

light-colored clothing.

It should be noted that covering yourself with clothing does not completely block all UV rays. On the other hand, if you can see light passing through the tissue, it means that UV rays can also pass through it.

-Use UV-blocking sunglasses:

Sunglasses can block ultraviolet rays, they’re ideal for protecting the delicate area around the eyes, as well as the eyes. Sunglasses that are suitable for protection against UVB and UVA rays are those that block 99% to 100% of these rays.

-Use hats:

Hats that have a brim around at least 2 or 3 inches are perfect because they protect the parts that are usually exposed to the sun’s rays, such as the eyes, nose, forehead, scalp, and ears.

Also recommended is a shaded cap, which is similar to a baseball cap with a 7-inch cloth that falls to the sides and back of the neck, which will provide more protection for the neck.

If you don’t have a shade cap or other hat, you can make one by wearing a large turban or scarf under a baseball cap.

Sun Exposure, Melanoma and Skin Cancer Prevention

So what’s the connection between sun exposure and melanoma?

Skin cancer is a disease that starts in skin cells when they receive confusing instructions, resulting in their abnormal behavior. Cancer cells, rather than dying, continue to grow uncontrolled.

After a while, groups of abnormal cells form a lump (mass), or tumor, some of which may be cancerous (not all tumors are malignant).

This process can take many years. Indeed, it can take a long time between the time when cancer begins to develop in the body and when it is clinically detectable.

Non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common, but also one of the easiest to avoid.

Can sun exposure cause skin cancer?

The short answer is YES! Prolonged sun exposures should be avoided in young people with light skin (blonde and red with freckles), this is called skin with a “clear phototype” that usually tan with difficulty.

The presence of more than 40 moles, some more than 5 mm in diameter, repeated sunburn, a profession that exposes to the sun or the existence of a history of melanoma in the family exposes to a risk of skin cancer.

If you are at risk of skin cancer, it is advisable to have your skin checked regularly by a doctor(including areas usually under clothing). You should also consult your treating physician if a suspicious spot appears or if a mole has changed its appearance.

What are ultraviolet rays and what are their risks?

Solar radiation that reaches the earth during the day consists of 39% visible radiation (light), 56% infrared and 5% ultraviolet radiation. Ultraviolet radiation (UV) has a short wavelength and is therefore very penetrating. Some of this radiation is normally stopped by the Earth’s atmosphere, especially by the ozone layer, but some of it reaches the ground.

UVA accounts for 95% of ultraviolet rays and burns 1000 times less than UVB rays, but it is harder to stop: UVA is not stopped by glass or clouds and penetrates deep into the skin to reach the dermis. Prolonged UVA exposure damages the skin’s elastin and collagen fibers and causes free radicals to be activated in the deep layers of the skin.

These radicals are toxic and promote the development of skin cancers (they can also cause eye damage such as cataracts or retinal damage). UVA produces pigmentation within minutes of sun exposure due to the oxidation of melanin already present in the skin, but it is a short-lived tan.

UVB scans only 5% of ultraviolet light and is stopped by glass and clouds. UVB burns the upper part of the skin, the epidermis, and therefore causes sunburn. Only 10% of them reach the deep layers of the skin. UVBs normally produce “delayed tanning” as it appears 48 to 72 hours after sun exposure. This prolonged tan is secondary to the synthesis of melanin, the black pigment of the skin, by specialized skin cells: melanocytes.

How can you prevent skin cancer?

  1. Avoid artificial tanning

To reduce the risk of skin cancer, the first step is to avoid the use of artificial tanning devices. Their UV radiation is dangerous to health. If the desire for a tanned complexion itches us, self-tanning creams are not harmful and the result is quite convincing!

Be sure to use a self-tanner with an SPF (sunscreen factor) of at least 30, as cosmetic tanning offers no protection against ultraviolet rays.

Avoid periods of great sunshine

Then, as much as possible, outdoor activities are avoided between 11 am and 4 pm, when the sun and UV rays are most hot. The priority is given to the hours of the day when the UV index is less than 3.

A little tip: if we notice that our shadow is shorter than us, it is because the sun is at its zenith. It is, therefore, time to look for shade or to focus on indoor activities.

  1. Apply sunscreen

There is nothing like sunscreen to reduce exposure to UV rays. On the other hand, sunscreen does not block all the sun’s rays. It is therefore not advisable to rely solely on sunscreens but to use them as additional protection. The sunscreen chosen should have a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. If you are working outdoors or planning to spend most of the day outdoors, you must choose an SPF of at least 50.

  1. Cover up

One of the best ways to avoid sunburn is to dress accordingly by choosing light, loose, long and tightly woven clothing (so as not to let UV pass).

  1. Wear a hat

It is known that most skin cancers develop on the face and neck, so it is important to think about wearing a hat to offer these parts of the body additional protection. It is chosen with wide edges to protect the head, face, ears and neck.

Caps are not recommended as they only protect the face. Despite wearing the hat, sunscreen should not be overlooked, which is generously applied to the entire face, not to mention the ears and neck.

  1. Examine our skin regularly

Conclusion

Sun exposure and melanoma are closely linked. There are a lot of studies that clearly show how overexposure to the Sun may lead to skin cancer. Be smart and always think ahead. Prevention is the best treatment!

What You Should Know About Melanoma

Growth and Development of Primary Skin Melanomas: A Short Atlas

Melanomas develop initially as a flat phase without competence for metastasis called the radial growth phase. They then may evolve focally an elevated part, the vertical growth phase, with metastatic competence.

Generally, the radial growth phase is described by the A,B,C,D’s of melanoma:

A = asymmetry

B = border irregularity

C = color variability (brown, black, blue, gray, pink)

D = diameter of (often) greater than 1/4 inch

Radial growth phase melanomas, although invasive, have a cure rate that approaches 100% with surgery alone. Figures 1 and 2 are radial growth phase melanomas of the superficial spreading type, the most common form in white populations. This type is associated with excessive, intermittent sun exposure (especially in childhood and youth).

Figures 3 and 4 are radial growth phase melanomas of the lentigo maligna type. This type is associated with a lifetime of immoderate sun exposure and hence generally occurs in aged, sun damaged, maximally exposed skin.

Figures 5 and 6 are radial growth phase, acral-lentiginous melanomas. These occur in all races at a very low rate on palms, soles of the feet, and under the nails.

Figures 7, 8, and 9 are melanomas that have evolved focal areas of vertical phase. Overall, patients with vertical growth phase melanomas have a cure rate of 70%. Individual prognosis is dependent on such factors as tumor thickness, lymphocytic infiltration into the vertical growth phase, proportion of tumor cells in mitosis, ulceration, tumor location, and the patient’s sex.