+ 385 1 46 96 111
+ 385 1 64 14 006
+ 385 91 46 96 444
Dr. Andrija Štampar
Institute of Public Health
Mirogojska St. 16
Bank account number
PBZ d.d. Zagreb, Croatia
VAT No. HR 33392005961
Sun Safety and UV Protection
Small amounts of UV radiation are beneficial to health, and play an essential role in the production of vitamin D. Vitamin D strengthens the bone and musculoskeletal system. However, excessive exposure to UV radiation is associated with different types of skin cancer, sunburn, accelerated skin ageing and some eye diseases. There is also evidence that UV radiation reduces the effectiveness of the immune system.
Between 50% and 90% of skin cancers are due to UV radiation. In 2000, there were 200 000 cases of melanoma and 65 000 melanoma-associated deaths worldwide.
Children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of UV radiation. Excessive sun exposure in children is likely to contribute to skin cancer in later life. Fair-skinned people suffer more from sunburn and have a higher risk of skin cancer than dark-skinned people. However, even though the incidence of skin cancer is lower in dark-skinned people, the cancers are often detected at a later, more dangerous stage. The risk of eye damage, premature ageing of the skin and immunosuppression is independent of skin type.
Sun protective clothing, including hats, sunglasses, sunscreens, umbrellas, all will help protect you from ultraviolet radiation. It is important, however, that you familiarize yourself with how to best combine sun protection methods, what the standards for sun protection apply to each product and how best to use each product.
The hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. are the most hazardous for UV exposure. Protection from sun exposure is important all year round, not just during the summer or at the beach. Ultraviolet (UV) rays can reach you on cloudy and hazy days, as well as bright and sunny days. UV rays also reflect off of surfaces like water, cement, sand, and snow.
Sunscreens are best if they are broad spectrum and have a SPF 30+. You should also know that all sunscreens should be applied 20 minutes before being exposed to the sun and should be reapplied every two hours while exposed.
If you have to go out, always remember to wear sunscreen, preferably with a sun protection factor of 30 and above. Make sure that the product you are using shields you from both the UVA and UVB rays of the sun.
There are many sunscreen and sun block lotions available in the market. However, you need waterproof sun protection cream when you are going to swim or basking on the beach. Furthermore, you need to reapply your sunscreen as often as possible for continued protection.
Here are some sun protection advices:
- Use SPF 30+ sunscreen – make sure it is broad spectrum and water resistant. Apply 20 minutes before you go outdoors and reapply every two hours.
- Wear protective clothing such as hat to protect the eyes, face, neck and ears. Clothing should cover as much skin as possible.
- Wear sunglasses that provide 99 to 100 percent UV-A and UV-B protection.
- Protect babies and young children. Always keep babies in the shade. Babies under 12 months should not be exposed to direct UV and should be well protected from the sun.
- Seek shade.
- Limit time in the midday sun. The sun’s UV rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Watch for the UV index. This important resource helps you plan your outdoor activities in ways that prevent overexposure to the sun’s rays. When the UV Index is moderate or above (UV index around 3), sun protection is required.
- Avoid sun beds and sun lamps: use of sun beds before the age of 35 is associated with a 75% increase in the risk of melanoma. Unless under medical supervision, sun beds or sunlamps should not be used. WHO recommends banning their use by people under 18 years old.
Remember: During the summer months, people tend to sweat and expel a lot of fluids. Since water is important in many bodily functions, including the moisturizing the skin from within, you need to make sure that you drink plenty of water during this season.