How to protect your skin from harmful UV rays

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — According to one dermatologist, skin cancer can become a problem for people relatively early in life if preventative measures aren’t taken.

Jennifer Bauer, a physician’s assistant at the Dermatology Associates of Virginia told 8News that she sees it from time to time in her work.

“I am seeing skin cancers in women and men under the age of 25,” Bauer said.

621361A939F14955880C61EB081A6BF0More than 3.5 million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed annually, and there are 3 main types of skin cancer that are being diagnosed.

The three reported types are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma cell cancer.

According to Bauer, Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common skin cancer, but the “least aggressive.”

Bauer said that squamous cell carcinoma is the “second most common type of cancer and if it is caught early it won’t metathesize, but if it is caught late, it can metathesize and be quite deadly.”


Melanoma cells, according to Bauer, “tend to be the most deadly type of skin cancer. And that can happen from excessive sun exposure as well. So we look for what we call the ABCDE’s.  A for Asymmetry; uneven Boarders; multiple Colors; Diameter; and Evolving lesions.”

Not long ago, many people would use baby oil, iodine and even Crisco to get their quick gold color. But many never realized the damage they were doing to their skin.

“We are seeing some aging, some premature aging that’s wrinkling, broken blood vessels and thinner skin that’s causing bruising in arms and faces,” Bauer said.

Most people have heard how to protect themselves from sun rays like UVA and UVB – use sunscreen with a high SPF number and avoid long exposure without reapplication or long sleeves and a hat – but most people do not event know what these initials stand for.

Bauer said that UVA stands for ultraviolet aging rays and that UVB stands for ultraviolet burning rays.

To prevent these from causing damage, Bauer recommended patients use sunscreens with high SPFs.

“Always 30 or higher,” she said. “You need to apply at least a 1-ounce amount – that is a shot glass size – to cover your entire body to get the maximum effect of that number rating on the bottle.”

Bauer said to remember sunscreen and sunblock are not waterproof, and that they can be washed off in the pool or ocean, or even from sweating.

Bauer said to apply 15 minutes before going out in the sun and reapply every 2 hours. If you are going to be in the water, you will need to reapply every 40 to 80 minutes depending on the instructions on the sunscreen.

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