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Dr. Humphrey’s 3 “Must Haves” for Sun Protection

With Spring Break coming soon, many of my patients are heading off to warm locations and are looking for ways to ensure they are well protected from the damaging rays of the sun. My first choice for avoiding sun damage is stay out of the sun altogether. However, I recognize that is not always possible.

Recently, my sister recently moved to the Bahamas. Living in that sun-drenched climate, there is not much respite from the sun’s rays. So before she went, I made sure she knew my top three ‘must haves’ for sun protection. Below is a photo of my sister, enjoying the Bahamian sunshine (well protected).

  • Wear a hat: Whenever possible, wear a wide-brimmed hat when out in the sun. Wearing a hat gives an SPF of 7, which clearly is not enough. But it’s a great addition to broad spectrum sunscreen. And you can look stylish as you protect yourself from the sun! Here is my sister, fully covered up, enjoying the sunshine of the Bahamas.
  • Wear a sun protective shirt: Sun protective clothing is designed to help block ultraviolet (UV) rays from the skin when worn. Surfers have long used these sun protection shirts as rash guards, but today, they also come in super stylish, cute looks. I personally like the ones from J. Crew. They are fitted and stylish.
  • Wear sunglasses with UV protection: not all sunglasses are alike. It’s important you select sunglasses with at least 99 – 100% UV protection. Remember, the colour and degree of darkness of sunglasses have nothing to do with how well the sunglasses block UV rays. I also like large sunglasses to provide extra coverage, or wraparound sunglasses that protect your eyes from different angles

Wearing sun protection (even on cloudy days) is not only helpful at reducing the harmful affects of the sun rays on aging, but more importantly, it helps reduce your chance at getting skin cancer caused by sun damage. I recommend my patients (and my family and friends) wear sun protection including a broad spectrum sun screen at all times.

We’d love to hear about your sun vacation this spring break. Share your stories below or email us and send us a picture of how you covered up this vacation, You can also follow us on Twitter @HumphreyDerm and Instagram @HumphreyDerm.

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