The American Medical Association (AMA) and the AAD have warned people for many years about the dangers of tanning. In fact, the AMA and AAD have urged action that would ban the sale and use of tanning equipment for non-medical purposes. Doctors and public health officials have recommended the following steps to minimize the sun’s damage to the skin and eyes:
- Plan your outdoor activities to avoid the sun’s strongest rays.
- As a general rule, avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Wear protective covering such as broad-brimmed hats, long pants and long-sleeved shirts to reduce sun exposure.
- Wear sunglasses that provide 100% UV ray protection.
- When outdoors, always wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 15 or greater that will block both UVA and UVB, and apply it thirty minutes before sun exposure.
For more information on the levels of ultraviolet radiation reaching your area at noon, you can get the Ultraviolet Index (UVI) from local newspapers, radio or TV in many cities. The UVI is a number from 0-10: the higher the number, the more intense the exposure. Call the EPA Hotline for more information on the UVI at 1-800-296-1996.
Cumberland Skin Surgery and Dermatology recommends two sun-protective clothing lines, Coolibar® and Sunday Afternoons®.
For treatment, if you believe that some damage has already been done:
- Seek medical attention from your dermatologist to evaluate if you received skin or eye damage from the sun, or if you experienced an allergic reaction to the sun.
- See your dermatologist if you develop an unusual mole, a scaly patch or a sore that doesn’t heal. You may have developed a pre-cancer or a skin cancer. Your dermatologist can also repair and reverse sun-damaged wrinkles through medical treatments and dermatologic surgery.