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Skin Cancer Protectors - UV Blocking Sun Screens and Sun Protective Clothing

Aug 16, 2008
The most common way to get skin cancer is from the sun. Other ways are from tanning beds, immunosuppressant's, exposure to high levels of x-rays, and contact with certain chemicals. Does this mean you can't go outside anymore or have x-rays done? No, of course not. But you do need to educate yourself of the best way to protect your skin for harmful rays. We've all heard of sun screen lotion. You can get it with different SPF's (sun protection factor). But did you know that the SPF rating in sun screen lotion is only for UVB rays (ultraviolet B)? UVB's are what cause the actual sun burn on the skin. But it is the UVA (ultraviolet A) rays that cause the skin cancer, and the SPF labels on lotions don't have this information listed. So what is a person to do? The experts advise using a "broad-spectrum" sunscreen that can protect against both UVB and UVA. So how can you do this, if the UVA information in a lotion isn't available? Well, there are other ways to help prevent skin damage.

The clothing you wear is a huge factor. UPF ratings have been created to rate the ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of clothing, which measures the amount of UV radiation that passes through the fabric of our clothing. So a UPF of 10 means that one tenth of the sun's UV rays pass through the fabric. The darker and more tightly weaved the fabric, the more likely it is to protect against the UVA/B rays. Likewise, the lighter and more loosely woven, the more likely it is to offer less protection against UVA/B rays. You also want to know that if the fabric gets wet, the protection factor is cut in half! Also, if you are working out in the sun and sweating or are swimming, keep in mind that the sweat and water dilutes the protection of the SPF lotion and UPF clothing.

You will want to apply sun screen lotion about every two hours you are in the sun. It also wouldn't be a bad idea to wear a t-shirt under your clothing. You might think that wearing layers in the summer is crazy, but in super hot climates, people do just that. They wear light weight clothing layers under a darker outer garment so when you sweat, the wind or breeze blowing across your body helps to cool you down. This also helps the UV rays to not penetrate through the clothing.

Another way to aid sun screen lotion and clothing in protecting your skin is to wear a hat. A wide brimmed hat that covers your face, ears, neck and shoulders is ideal. A baseball hat only protects parts of your face. It leaves your ears, neck and sides of your face still exposed to the sun's rays. Using common sense and staying in the shade when possible if you have to be outside can also help prevent damage to your skin.
About the Author
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer people get. Everyone should submit to skin cancer screening when necessary. Jessica Sanders is a freelance writer for http://www.SkinCancerInfoLine.com and offers insightful information regarding skin cancer protection, biopsies and treatments.
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