We talk a lot about sun safety here at Alamo Heights Dermatology. That’s because, as your local skin care experts, we know that skin cancer is the most preventable skin condition. Fiesta begins June 17th, and with most of the celebration taking place outdoors, staying safe in the sun is the topic of the first blog of this month.
The Damaging Effects of the Sun
The sun gives off invisible rays of ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays are short, high-energy wavelengths absorbed by the skin’s outermost layer. It causes the redness we see in sunburns and affects the genetic material of the epidermis, which causes the damage that may lead to skin cancer. UVB rays also attack the skin’s pigment cells which cause damage to them and leading to freckling and the mottled brown of age spots. More seriously, it contributes to the development of melanoma and other skin cancers.
Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays are longer than UVB rays and can also do lasting damage. They cause changes to the proteins that make up collagen and elastin, which support the firm structure. Exposure to UVA rays leads directly to wrinkles and loss of elasticity in the skin or sagging. They also play a role in the development of skin cancer.
Fiesta Sun Protection Tips
There’s no single way to protect yourself 100%. That’s why a combination of methods is the best approach for sun safety. Here are some tips to keep your skin safe. By adopting as many of them as possible into your lifestyle, they become daily habits everywhere you go, all year long:
- Cover up: Clothing offers a consistent barrier that doesn’t wear off as sunscreen does. The more you cover your body with clothing, the better. Some clothing and accessories are built with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF). Wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, shirts, and pants made of breathable fabric are best.
- Seek shade: Between 10 AM and 4 PM are the peak hours of sun intensity. Seek shadier areas such as:
- Walk on the shady side of the street
- Sit under an awning or sun-protective umbrella
- Duck onto the covered porch at a pool party or even under a tree.
- Sunscreen: Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every time you are outside. Use brand that is water-resistant for extended outdoor use and make sure to reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
- Early detection: The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends adults do monthly skin self-exams and see a dermatologist annually.
Fiesta 2021 is taking place June 17-27, 2021. Get your turkey legs, your flower crowns, and guayabera shirts ready. Check out a listing of events on the official Fiesta San Antonio page.
For early detection screenings with our board-certified dermatologists or to schedule a consult for any other skin concerns, get in touch with Alamo Heights Dermatology today! Call us at