Summer's here: Learn about the sun's hidden dangers - and how to stay safe

Understand the risks of sun exposure and learn how to protect your skin effectively.

  (photo credit: SHUTTERSTOCK)
(photo credit: SHUTTERSTOCK)

The Importance of sun protection

With the arrival of June, Skin Cancer Awareness Month, it becomes crucial to address the harmful effects of the sun's radiation. Despite the increasing awareness, a significant portion of the population still neglects proper sun protection, putting themselves at risk of skin damage and skin cancer. In this article, we delve into the relationship between sun exposure and various skin conditions, while providing essential tips for reducing the risk and maintaining healthy skin.

Effective measures for sun protection

Reducing the time spent in direct sunlight is crucial to minimizing the risk of sunburn and skin damage. It is recommended to avoid tanning altogether, but if obtaining vitamin D is a necessity, it should be done carefully in the late afternoon, shortly before sunset, for a maximum of 10 minutes. Additionally, it is essential to take proactive measures to shield the skin from harmful radiation. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat and applying a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30-50, and reapplying it every two hours, are vital steps to safeguard the skin. For added protection, wearing long-sleeved clothing can offer sealed and maximum skin coverage, although it may be challenging in hot climates like Israel.

  (credit: SHUTTERSTOCK)

Sun exposure and ckin cancer risks

Contrary to popular belief, dark-skinned individuals are not immune to the damaging effects of the sun's radiation. Even darker skin types can experience lines, wrinkles, and accelerated aging caused by prolonged sun exposure. Therefore, it is equally important for individuals with dark skin to prioritize sun protection measures.

Furthermore, it is crucial to understand that the sun's radiation can harm the skin even when in the shade or behind car windows. Therefore, it is essential to maintain protective measures even in seemingly shaded areas.

Recognizing warning signs and seeking medical attention

Being aware of warning signs and seeking prompt medical attention are crucial steps in the early detection of skin cancer. If a new mole appears or an existing one changes in size, height, color, border, or shape, it is essential to consult a medical professional. This is particularly important for individuals with light skin, a family or personal history of melanoma or other malignancies, multiple moles, or a history of sunburn. Regular check-ups with a dermatologist are recommended, as they can conduct a comprehensive examination and assess any changes in skin lesions.

Apart from moles, there are various other spots and hyperpigmentation caused by sun exposure that should not be overlooked. A proper diagnosis by a dermatologist is necessary to determine whether these pigmented lesions require treatment or pose potential risks.

  (credit: SHUTTERSTOCK)

The effects of sun exposure on skin moisture

In addition to the well-known risks, sun exposure can lead to dry and dehydrated skin, particularly during the summer season. The sun's rays cause the evaporation of water from the skin's protective layer, leading to further damage. To combat this, using moisturizing products containing ingredients like squalane, ceramides, or hyaluronic acid can help maintain skin hydration and vitality.

Protecting your skin from the sun's radiation is essential to prevent skin damage and reduce the risk of skin cancer. By following the recommended measures, such as minimizing sun exposure, using appropriate sun protection, and being vigilant about changes in the skin, you can enjoy the outdoors safely while maintaining healthy skin throughout the year. Remember, the sun's harmful rays can penetrate various surfaces, including snow and clouds, reinforcing the importance of consistent sun protection regardless of the season.