With blooming flowers and warmer temperatures comes the temptation to bask in the sun. But before getting out the lawn chair and tanning oil, remember that the sun’s UV rays can cause premature aging of the skin, skin cancer and sometimes even eye damage. Increased awareness and changing attitudes about tanning have brought about a slew of safe ways to guard you from UV exposure. Use the Web resources in this guide to learn about sun protection.
Though most everyone is aware that sun exposure can cause wrinkles and skin cancer, most people would find the actual statistics chilling. Up to 90 percent of skin changes commonly thought to be a part of aging are actually caused by the sun, and the sun is responsible for 90 percent of all skin cancers. Read on for Web sites offering straightforward facts on the dangers of sun exposure.
- Seasonal variations, varying weather conditions and ozone depletion all contribute to different amounts of UV radiation reaching the Earth on any given day. Take a look at the UV Index forecast map to see the level of solar UV radiation in your area, and be sure to protect yourself appropriately.
- According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. For a complete guide to skin cancer, including what causes it and how to prevent and treat it, see the findingDulcinea Skin Cancer Web Guide.
- There has been some debate in the media over the amount of UV exposure required for proper vitamin D production within the body. Be sure to see the “For information on Vitamin D” sites below to make an informed decision.
For an overview of the risks of sun exposure…
though sponsored by Coolibar, Inc., a manufacturer of sun protective products, provides a wealth of marketing-free information on the dangers of UV exposure. Learn the difference between UVA and UVB rays, and how quickly sunburn can happen. Also read why UV protection
is so important.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
provides a summary of the risks of overexposure to the sun. Read how dangerous UV rays can cause a variety of health problems, including skin cancer, suppression of the immune system, premature aging of the skin and damage to the eyes.
For information on specific sun-related disorders …
a Web site of the American Academy of Dermatology, presents photos taken with a UV-light camera that show patients how the sun has affected their skin. “A picture is worth a thousand words” certainly holds true as you’ll see how even a four year old shows signs of early sun damage.
article on “Sun-Sensitizing Drugs” covers the reactions that can occur when sun exposure is combined with certain medications. Learn what the main types of reactions are, and find a list of sun-sensitizing drugs.
For information on Vitamin D …
World Health Organization
points out that most people have normal vitamin D levels, but that 5–15 minutes of casual sun exposure a few times a week is enough to keep your vitamin D levels high.
American Academy of Dermatology's
“Vitamin D Fact Sheet” recommends avoiding sun exposure altogether and states that getting vitamin D from a healthy diet is a better alternative.
reported on yet another reason to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun: It may be addictive.
There’s more to sun protection than wearing sunscreen. Use the Web sites in this section to discover what you can do to keep your child safe from UV rays, find information that will appeal to teens and learn about recommended sun-protective clothing and accessories. You’ll even find information on sunburn relief.
- As if health risks aren’t reason enough to avoid the sun, there’s another reason: Fashion and beauty insiders say tanning is so last season. Watch the video on the Skin Cancer Foundation site to hear Jane Larkworthy, W Magazine beauty director, talk about how “Skin that’s not tanned is gorgeous.”
- Still insist on tanning? At least educate yourself on the sunless tanning options available; see the “Tanning” section of the findingDulcinea Skin Care Web Guide for more information.
For an overview of sun protection methods …
For parents …
has a guide to sun safety for parents that makes it easy to protect your child from the sun. Get a list of ways to keep your child safe from the sun’s harmful rays, and find out what to do if your child gets sunburned
For teens …
“Sunshine” site uses snappy graphics and language to appeal to teens. Use the interactive Skin Types
tool to find the best SPF and visit the Solutions
section to learn what SPF means and why it’s so important.
For sunscreen and sun-protective products …
The Skin Cancer Foundation's
“Seal of Recommendation” is a good place to start when choosing sunscreen or other sun-protective products. Download the complete list to see products that meet the Foundation’s requirements for UV sun protection
sells a variety of sun-protective products including clothing, hats, sunglasses, umbrellas and sunscreens, all awarded The Skin Cancer Foundation’s “Seal of Recommendation.” Browse the products by department or activity.
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