Warmer days are in the forecast and spring weather is here in California. It is time to get ready for the sunshine. Most Californians love the sunshine, and after all, sunshine is guaranteed to the masses by state law. For Californians, sunlight means beach days, hiking, pools, suntan lines, and fun times. Fun in sun is a highlight to the Californian lifestyle. However, we like it to be perfect, not too much, or not too little.
The sun is a friend to most of us. We need it in our lives or else we’d be stuck in a dark, frozen tundra. According to SkinCancer.org, a website geared towards informing the public about skin cancer, there are two types of rays that we need to worry about, UVA and UVB.
UVA rays are most common to us. UVA rays are less intense than UVB rays, which is good because UVA rays make up 95% of the UV rays we soak up. We’re exposed to UVA rays through sunlight, which makes our exposure to UVA ray more common. UVA rays can cause skin damage like wrinkles, sunspots, and other noticeable marks to the outermost layer of skin. According to SkinCancer.org, recent studies have found that UVA rays are thought to develop skin cancers.
UVB rays are our biggest problem. These rays cause us to burn, and our skin to redden. The problem with UVB rays have more penetrating power, which is how they damage more layers of skin than UVA rays. UVB are also directly related to the development of skin cancer. UVB ray get us when we least think about it. For example in higher altitudes or in snow landscapes the UVB rays will be intensified but we might not be aware of it. UVB rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so plan your days accordingly.
Even through you may be think you can’t escape UVA and UVB rays, don’t give up hope. There are several recommended protective measures you can take.
These are a few things that you should be aware of when dealing with UV rays:
- Protect yourself from UV radiation, both indoors and out.
- Always seek the shade outdoors, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM.
- Since UVA penetrates glass, consider adding flat, tinted UV-protective film to your car’s side and rear windows as well as to house and business windows. This film blocks up to 99.9 percent of UV radiation and lets in up to 80 percent of visible light.
- Do not burn.
- Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths.
- Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
- Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours, or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
- Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
- Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
- See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.
Even through the weather is practically perfect in California, we still need to aware of the amount of UV exposure. Tanning on the beach, or in a tanning bed, may seem peaceful and ideal, but you’ll be subjecting yourself to a lot of UV rays. As Californians, we live for the sunshine, however we also need to live skin cancer free.