Protecting Our Skin—A Lifetime Commitment

With a total area of about 20 square feet, our skin is the largest organ in our bodies – and it does so much for us! It acts as a barrier against water loss and injury, regulates temperature, and protects us from the sun’s harmful UV radiation.

What’s in a Ray?

The sun emits many kinds of rays, including ultraviolet (UV) rays, which produce UV radiation. According to the CDC, overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the single most significant cause of skin cancer. Sun lamps and tanning beds are also sources of potentially damaging exposure.

Two important components of UV radiation are ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB). Both UVA and UVB rays can cause damage to your skin. Scientists believe that exposure to UVB radiation, which can result in sunburn, causes most skin cancers. However, UVA rays, which are generally responsible for tanning, also cause skin damage.

What can we do to protect ourselves? According to the CDC and other organizations, there are some important steps we can take to protect our skin:

1. Do not burn. Sunburns significantly increase the lifetime risk of developing skin cancer, especially for children. Use extra caution when you are near water, snow, and sand as these materials reflect and intensify the damaging rays of the sun. 2. Avoid sun tanning and tanning beds. Contrary to popular belief, getting a “base tan” does not protect your skin. In fact, UV light from tanning beds can increase the risk of skin cancer and premature aging. 3. Wear protective clothing. Choose wide-brimmed hats without holes to maximize sun protection for your eyes, face, and neck. Wear sunglasses that provide 99 to 100% UVA and UVB protection to help reduce your risk of eye damage. Loose-fitting clothing with a tight weave will also provide added protection to the rest of your body. 4. Use sunscreen when outdoors. The CDC recommends using a broad-spectrum sunscreen (which protects against both UVA and UVB rays) with an SPF of 30 or higher on all exposed skin. Apply at least 20 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours, or after exercising. 5. Seek shade and limit time in the midday sun. The sun's rays are at their most powerful between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Limit exposure to the sun during these hours, even in winter and especially at higher altitudes. Watch the UV Index. The UV Index provides important sun safety information to help people plan outdoor activities.

Watch your shadow! 

A simple way to gauge how much UV exposure you are getting is to look for your shadow:  If your shadow is taller than you (in the early morning and late afternoon), you are likely at a lower risk for UV exposure. If your shadow is shorter than you (around midday), UV radiation levels are higher. This is the time to find shade and protect your skin.

Remember, every step you take to protect your skin counts—but the more consistently you maintain these practices, the better the results will be in the long run. Your skin does a lot of great work for you—and taking care of it is a powerful way to invest in your lifetime health.

Dynarex offers a full line of high-quality skincare products to help you keep your skin vibrant and healthy.