(AKs) develop in skin that has been exposed to the ultraviolet (UV)
light of the sun for years. Therefore, the best defense against AKs
is to practice sun protection. Sun-protection practices can prevent:
protection should begin early in life because overexposure to UV
radiation increases oneís risk of developing AKs. What many people
do not realize is that sun protection can be beneficial at any age,
even when signs of sun damage, such as AKs, have already appeared.
Sun protection can prevent further damage. Research also shows that
the skinís recuperative powers can repair some of the damage when
protected from ultraviolet (UV) light.
The American Academy
of Dermatology recommends that everyone protect their skin by
following these sun-protection practices:
Avoid deliberate tanning.
Ultraviolet light from the sun and
tanning beds causes skin cancer and wrinkling. If you want to look
like youíve been in the sun, consider using a sunless self-tanning
product. When using a self-tanning product, you should continue to
Get vitamin D safely through a
healthy diet that includes vitamin supplements.
Donít seek the sun.
Generously apply sunscreen to all
exposed skin. Before going
outdoors, generously apply a sunscreen that has a Sun Protection
Factor (SPF) of at least 30 and is broad-spectrum - protects against
both ultraviolet (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. While outdoors,
re-apply the sunscreen approximately every two hours, even on cloudy days, and
after swimming or perspiring.
Dermatologists agree that most people
do not apply enough sunscreen to help protect against harmful
ultraviolet (UV) radiation. One ounce, enough to fill a shot
glass, is considered the amount needed to cover the exposed areas of
the body properly. So when applying sunscreen, remember to
apply it liberally. Here are a few more tips:
Don't forget your ears, neck, and
hands. Many AKs develop in these areas. Protect your
lips, another high-risk area, with lip balm that offers sun
protection with an SPF of 30 or higher.
Sunscreen should be applied to dry skin
15-30 minutes before going outdoors, and reapplied approximately every two hours.
Sunscreen should not be used to prolong
sun exposure - only to avoid sunburn. Some UV light gets
Sunscreen does not make sunbathing
Cover up when you must be in the
sun. Wear long sleeves, pants, a
wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses that protect against both UVA and
protects your skin from the sunís harmful rays.
The tighter the weave, the more sun protection provided. In
fact, clothing plays such an important role in sun protection
that clothing designed specifically to protect against the sun,
as well as laundry additives created to boost clothingís
protective function, are available. Your dermatologist may be
able to provide you with more information about these products.
A wide-brimmed hat shades your face and neck from the sunís rays.
Wide-brimmed means the brim circles the entire hat and shades
the face and neck.
Use extra caution near water, snow,
and sand. These reflect the
damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.
More Good Reasons to
Practice Sun Protection
Aside from AKs, the sunís UV rays also cause:
Signs of premature aging include wrinkles, mottled skin, and loss
of skinís firmness.
(weakening of the bodyís ability to protect itself from cancer and
Macular degeneration, for which there is no cure, is the leading
cause of blindness in people aged 65 and older.
content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology
While prevention of AKs and skin cancer should begin
early in childhood, it is never too late to adopt
American Academy of