Sun Protection Tips

Everyone should be aware of the harmful effects of sunlight and take precautions to prevent overexposure.

Sunlight's harmful UV rays can cause sunburn, age spots, wrinkles, melasma, freckles, allergic rashes, and precancerous lesions known as actinic keratoses, among other skin issues.

Most significantly, excessive sun exposure is a leading factor in skin cancer, including melanoma.

Although many people like the way tanned skin looks and believe it to be "healthy," tanned skin is actually damaged skin.

The lowest layers of the skin are exposed to UV radiation from sunlight, which damages the cells.

In an effort to defend itself, the body reacts by producing more pigment (melanin), although the harm may already have been done and be irreversible.

10 Essenital Defenses

Keeping out of the sun as much as you can is the best and most effective strategy to prevent solar damage.

If you cannot avoid being exposed to sunlight, there are ten basic tips that you should keep in mind when you go outdoors:

  • Avoid the sun when its UV rays are strongest, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or greater. Apply it 30 minutes prior to being exposed to the sun and reapply every two hours. Use a water-resistant sunscreen if you will be active, sweating, or in the water.
  • Use a sunblock on your lips.
  • Wear a broad-brimmed hat when outdoors.
  • Wear sunglasses with UV protection.
  • Wear tightly woven, dark clothing to cover your arms, legs, and feet.
  • Stay in the shade when possible.
  • Avoid reflective surfaces, such as water or snow.
  • Avoid sunbathing.
  • Don't be fooled by cloudy days since damaging rays can penetrate clouds.
The more exposure you have to the sun, the more likely you are to develop skin problems later in life.

Avoid Peak Hours of Sunlight

The peak time for UV radiation is often between 10 am and 4 pm. It is recommended to stay indoors without protection during these hours, especially during the summer, in tropical areas, or at altitude.

The season, the number of clouds, the amount of ozone in the air, and other factors all affect the UV Index on any given day.

The UV Index can be found on weather websites or in local papers, usually in the weather section.


There are several factors to consider while selecting the best sunscreen for efficient sun protection.

Sun protection factor (SPF) - Sunscreens are rated by the amount of protection they provide from UVB, measured as the "sun protection factor" or SPF. Sunscreens with higher SPF provide greater protection from the sun. It is best to use sunscreens that offer SPF 15 or greater.

Broad-spectrum sunscreens - It is best to use a sunscreen that can protect you from both UVA and UVB rays. These are called "broad-spectrum" sunscreens.

Common sunscreen ingredients that provide protection from UVB rays:

  • Cinnamates
  • Octocrylene
  • PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid)
  • Padimate O and Padimate A (Octyl Dimethyl PABA)
  • Salicylates

Common sunscreen ingredients that provide protection from UVA rays:

  • Avobenzone (Parsol 1789)
  • Benzophenones (oxybenzone, dioxybenzone, sulisobenzone)

Sunblocks - "Physical" sunscreen ingredients lie on top of the skin and work by reflecting or scattering UV radiation. They are particularly useful for people who are sensitive to the ingredients found in other sunscreens. Sunblocks often contain one or more of these ingredients:

  • Zinc oxide
  • Titanium dioxide
  • Iron oxide

Water resistance - Sunscreens are classified as "water-resistant" if they maintain their protection after two 20-minute immersions in water. They are classified as "waterproof" if they maintain their protection after four 20-minute immersions.

You should seek a water-resistant or waterproof sunscreen if you will be participating in water sports, such as swimming or water skiing, or will be actively sweating.

Using Sunscreen

Sunscreen should be applied evenly and liberally on all sun-exposed skin within 30 minutes before going outside to give sunscreen time to take effect. (Sunblocks are effective immediately after being applied.) Sunscreens should be reapplied every two hours or following swimming or sweating to ensure effective sun protection.

Apply sunscreen generously and reapply frequently at least every two hours.

The chemicals may lose effectiveness over time, so it is important to throw away sunscreen that is past its expiration date or is over two years old.


Overexposure to sunlight can cause cataracts and macular degeneration, a major cause of blindness. UV-protective sunglasses can effectively shield your eyes from the sun's rays.

To be sure the glasses offer UV protection, check the label. Your sunglasses should be big enough to protect your eyes from all sides. Look for sunglasses that are described as blocking 99% or 100% of UVA and UVB.

Dr. Kechichian is ready to help you with your skin health, with office locations in the Santa Clarita and Antelope Valley. Contact us now