Sun Damage Prevention by HealthTap Medical Expert Dr. Ralph Morgan Lewis


It’s summertime—warm, sunny days, picnics, golf, camping, the beach, outdoor sports, and sunburn! Many dismiss those yearly sunburns as a temporary inconvenience. Little do they realize that ultraviolet damage builds up over the years, resulting in wrinkled, leathery skin and worse—skin cancers: basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas and malignant melanoma.

Sun Protection | HealthTapThere’s no need to give up outdoor activities; just practice some judicious prevention:

  • Avoid the sun between 10 AM and 2 PM when it is at its peak and UV is most direct.
  • On sun-exposed areas use at least #30 SPF sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB, applied 15 – 30 minutes before going out into the sun.
  • Wear a broad-brimmed hat to protect face, ears, neck; wear long-sleeved shirt/blouse and long pants.
  • If you burn easily, consider investing in sun-protective clothing like Solumbra ®, Coolibar®, SolarTex®, et al. which offer an additional SPF of 50 – 100.
  • Be certain to adequately protect the delicate skin of infants and children, which may sunburn more readily. There are a variety of sunblockers—creams, oils, lotions, sprays, water-resistant—to meet every need or preference.
  • If you’re going to be outdoors all day, reapply sunblock. If you normally burn in 20 minutes, SPF 30 gives you about 600 minutes (10 hours) of protection if it hasn’t been washed off by swimming or perspiring.

Have fun in the sun, but prevent serious skin problems that may appear years later.