New York based Primary Care Physician, Dr. Marissa Ferrazzo-Weller of Highland Medical PC, shares tips on protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.

Nyack, N.Y. July 10, 2013 -- Beach days shouldn’t be the only times you think about protecting your skin. Whenever you are outside, harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays can reach your skin. These rays not only can lead to skin cancer, but can also cause eye problems, age spots and wrinkles.

There are many ways to protect your skin against UV rays. The simplest, of course, is to stay out of the sun mid-morning until mid-afternoon, the peak burning hours. Keep in the shade, or wearing protective clothing, such as a hat with a broad brim, and UV-resistant sunglasses.

Before you go outside, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen on all exposed skin. This type of sunscreen protects against both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Choose a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, and reapply it at least every two hours—more if you are sweating or going in and out of the water.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, you should apply 1 ounce of sunscreen (about a shot glass full) each time. If you’re spending a full day at the beach, you should use one-quarter to one-half of an 8-ounce bottle.
Other tips for protecting your skin:

  • Wear loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and long pants made from tightly woven fabric when you are in the sun. If you don’t want to cover up that much, at least wear a t-shirt or cover-up at the beach.

  • If you wear a baseball cap, don’t forget to protect your ears and the back of your neck with sunscreen.

  • Check your sunscreen’s expiration date. If it doesn’t have one, assume it has a shelf life of no more than three years—less if it has been exposed to high temperatures.

  • Choose cosmetics and lip balms that contain at least SPF 15.

  • Moisturizers and after-shave lotions that contain sunscreen (SPF 15 or greater) are generally fine for days when you will be in the sun for short periods. If you work outside or will be outside for long periods, use regular sunscreen.

  • Children over the age of six months should use sunscreen daily. Babies younger than six months should be covered up with protective clothing and stay in the shade when they are outside to protect their skin. Infants’ skin is very sensitive to the chemicals in sunscreen and to the sun’s rays.

By following commonsense sun safety rules, you can reduce your risk of skin cancer, while helping your skin look younger for a longer time.

About Nyack Hospital
Nyack Hospital is a 375-bed community acute care medical and surgical hospital located in Rockland County, NY. Founded in 1895, it is a member of the New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System, an affiliate of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and has partnered with Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine providing clinical rotations to third-year medical students. Its mission is to provide competent, innovative and accessible emergency and acute care services to the residents of Rockland County and surrounding areas.