Dermatologists in Los Angeles say that the best approach for preventing sun damage to skin is to avoid or minimize the damage in the first place. The steps for prevention are simple, but important. They include:
- Minimizing sun exposure when UV rays are at their peak (between 11 am and 4 pm).
- Applying sunscreen to your face every day, even if you’re just going about your usual business. A majority of sun exposure actually occurs on an everyday basis, such as while driving and when walking to and from your car. It is important that your sunscreen contains protection against UV-A rays as well as the UV-B rays, since the former is more damaging to our skin.
- Wearing long sleeves, long pants and a hat when you can’t avoid being over-exposed.
Not all clothes offer equal protection, so know the protective quality of the clothes you choose. Plain cotton is cool and comfortable, but offers very little protection from UVR. Darker colors and certain bright or fluorescent colors typically absorb more UVR, while whites and pastels absorb less, so less UVR reaches the skin. Tighter weaves and less porous materials also reduce UVR exposure to the skin, as do thicker materials. Certain laundry detergents also contain special UV absorbers. These are not permanent treatments, but can last for as many as 20 washings.
Today we now also have a wide variety of fabrics and garments designed to offer additional protection. Look for garments in Los Angeles with a UPF (ultraviolet protective factor) rating. These can be found in swimming clothes and active wear available from many sportswear and outdoor specialty stores and catalogues. These are especially great for children and anyone who has trouble getting adequate skin care. And speaking of children, don’t forget to reapply their sunscreen after they’ve been in the water or running around. Little cheeks, noses and the backs of necks are especially susceptible to sun exposure, so keep hats on and reapply sunscreen often.
Ask your dermatologist in Los Angeles for more skin care tips for sun damage.