Summer is quickly approaching, and that means a large majority of us will be heading outdoors to enjoy the warm weather. This also means many of us will stock up on sunscreen to protect ourselves from the damaging rays. Recently, there has been some good news regarding this protection: applying sunscreen with SPF (sun protection factor) 30+ has been found to delay the onset of melanoma.
Melanoma is considered the most dangerous type of skin cancer that is often caused by too much sun exposure without protection. The findings revealed that applying SPF 30 before being exposed to ultraviolet B (UVB) light delayed this onset, and was recently presented at the American Association for Cancer Research’s annual meeting in New Orleans by the Ohio State University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Sunscreen was previously known to prevent sunburn from UV light, which has been linked to melanoma, but it was not clear whether or not sunscreen prevented melanoma. Testing was difficult due to the fact that it required human volunteers or synthetic skin models. In order to conduct this study, researchers were able to use genetically engineered mice as models.
As with any study, there were limitations. One limitation was that the mice were exposed to only a short amount of UVB light – about the amount that was equivalent what someone might experience on a week-long beach vacation. However, one researcher stated that sunscreen isn’t meant to handle that much sun exposure at one time. The second limitation was that sunlight contains UVA and UVB light, but the study only involved UVB light.
Keep Yourself Protected
In order to properly protect yourself, the three factors to keep in mind are: application, broad spectrum and clothing. Some things you can do include:
Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before sun exposure so your skin has time to absorb it
- Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating
- Cover all exposed area of your body, using approximately one teaspoon worth of sunscreen for each area of the body
- Pick sunscreen that uses the term, “broad spectrum” with a SPF of at least 30.
- Check the UPF rating of the clothes you wear in the sun. Clothes have a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) which states how much UV radiation get through the fabric. Clothing with a UPF of 50 or greater is ideal for skin protection and can be found at reasonable prices.
Get out and enjoy the sun while keeping your skin and health protected!