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Monday, December 10 2018 @ 07:34 AM EST

Hazards of Sun Exposure

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Phototoxic effects are particularly pronounced if one is taking certain antibiotics such as sulfonamides, quinolones (cipro, floxin etc.), doxycycline, demeclocycline, birth control pills, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and many more.Prolonged sun exposure is dangerous. Sun accounts for over 90% of all skin cancers. Tan and sun burn are signs of injury to the skin. Prolonged sun exposure can lead to premature aging, pre-cancerous conditions such as Actinic keratosis besides Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Malignant Melanoma which are serious cancers.


Tan and sun burn are signs of injury to the skin.  Prolonged sun exposure can lead to premature aging, pre-cancerous conditions such as Actinic keratosis besides Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Malignant Melanoma which are serious cancers.  Other toxic effects of chronic sun exposure include immune system suppression, photoaging, fine wrinkling, yellowish discoloration, coarse leathery texture and mottled discoloration of the skin.  Sun rays contain ultra violet (UV) rays A and B.   Both UVA and UVB are known carcinogens.  Prolonged exposure to UV rays can result in cataracts resulting in loss of vision.  Tanning in suntan parlors for cosmetic purpose results in injury to the skin causing toxic effects similar to prolonged outdoor sun exposure.

 

Preventive measures should include, among others, avoidance of sunlight exposure during peak UVB radiation times i.e. 10 A.M. to 3 P.M.  Use of hats, shades, dark lenses for eye protection is necessary for everyone, especially for children.  Ultraviolet radiation can penetrate thin light colored clothing especially when clothing is wet.   Sunscreens and sunblocks are given a  sun protection factor (SPF) rating, which is the ratio of the time needed for UVB radiation to cause minimal redness when using versus not using the sunscreen.  In the laboratory, SPF of 15 screens 92% of UVB, and an SPF of 30 screens 96% of UVB.  However most sunscreen users apply less than 50% of the amount of lotion needed for this protection, thus turning an SPF 30 product into an SPF 15  product.  It is therefore best to use an SPF 30 sunscreen,  preferably waterproof.

 

Persons with blonde or red hair, fair complexion and blue eyes, those with a family history of melanoma, and those who had three or more outdoor summer jobs as teenager are at increased risk and should seek medical assistance.

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