Non-melanoma skin cancers are: Basal cell cancers and squamous cell cancers. Basal cells are usually seen in exposed areas of the body, they are slow growing and rarely spread internally. Squamous cells also appear in sun exposed areas, but is more aggressive than Basal cell. About 3% of them spread to distant parts of the body. Both cancers are more prevalent in men due to greater sun exposure.
- Avoid the strongest UV sunlight, between 10AM-3PM
- Avoid tanning parlors and sunlamps. They emit UV-A.
- Use sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher on areas exposed to the sun. Use water resistant sunscreens often when swimming or sweating.
- When buying sunglasses, look for a pair that blocks 99-100% of UV-A and UV-B. The safest material for use in sunglasses is polycarbonate since it is the most impact resistant material available.
- Make sure that children's eyes are not overexposed to the sun. They may develop photokeretitis, also known as corneal sunburn. This condition is very painful and may cause temporary vision loss.
- Lifeguards and skiers are at increased risk of UV eye damage since UV reflects off water, sand, snow, and other bright surfaces. For this reason it is advised that these individuals should wear UV coated sunglasses. Lifeguards should also wear brimmed hats for maximum protection.
- Be aware that there is more exposure to UV radiation in higher elevations. Cloud cover decreases UV radiation, but dangerous amounts of UV radiation can still be present on cloudy days.
Some people experience a skin reaction to the sun rays after even a brief sun exposure. The skin will be red, itchy, or swollen or will blister. These individuals are called photosensitive or "sun sensitive". The skin reaction will last longer than sunburn and be more painful. It is important to check with your physician about medications that can make your skin more sensitive to sun exposure.
The best known products to cause increased sensitivity are:
- antibiotics like tetracycline, quinolones, and sulfas
- diuretics like thiazide
- some cancer drugs
- tricyclic antidepressents
- oral diabetic medications
- some blood pressure controlling drugs
- some creams and acne medication
- ibuprofen like products
Very Important: Contact your physician for proper diagnosis and treatment of your condition.
UV Radiation is beneficial in vitamin D formation. Vitamin D deficiency can be corrected by sunlight exposure. Also, sunlight is beneficial in Seasonal Affective Disorder.
- Research workshop on risks and benefits of exposure to ultraviolet radiation and tanning National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
- Global Climate Change: Beyond Sunburn Environmental Health Perspectives
- Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer
- Polymorphous Light Eruption Mayo Clinic Health Oasis