Protect Your Skin This Summer

By Kirsten Bannan, System Communications Intern

As the summer progresses the initial sunburn has faded and it’s time to think about protecting your skin. Everyone wants that bronze glow that comes with a summer tan, but most people are sun picnot aware of the damage the sun can cause to your skin and your health. Here are some facts and tips that will help you protect your skin this summer.

Skin Cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Most skin cancers are caused by exposure to Ultraviolet (UV) rays. The sun emits these rays and you can get extra exposure from using tanning beds or sun lamps. “People who use tanning salons are 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma, and 1.5 times more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma. According to recent research, first exposure to tanning beds in youth increases melanoma risk by 75 percent” (Skin Cancer Foundation). There are two types of UV radiation that affect the skin: UVA and UVB. Both kinds of rays can cause skin cancer, weaken the immune system, contribute to premature aging of the skin, and cataracts (See our Cataract Awareness Article).

UVA Rays– they are not absorbed by the ozone layer and penetrate skin to contribute to premature aging. “They account for up to 95 percent of the UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface” (Skin Cancer Foundation). UVA is the prevalent tanning ray; tanning itself is actually damage to the skin’s DNA. The Skin gets darker in an attempt to protect from further DNA damage.

UVB Rays– they are partially absorbed by the ozone layer and are the primary cause to sunburn. They play a very large role in the development of skin cancer. The most intensive UVB rays hit the Earth around 10am to 4pm from April to October.

There are protective measures that you can take to prevent against damage and skin cancer. Since the sun can damage your skin in as few as 15 minutes, it’s important to put sunscreen on when you know you will be outside for an extended period of time. Sunscreen works by absorbing, reflecting, or scattering sunlight. They contain chemicals that interact with the skin to protect it from UV rays.
Here are some other tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on sun safety:

A wet T-shirt offers much less UV protection than a dry one, and darker colors may offer more protection than lighter colors.

A regular T-shirt has an SPF rating lower than 15, so use other types of protection as well.

Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts. They also protect the tender skin around your eyes from sun exposure.

o Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays offer the best protection. Most sunglasses sold in the United States, regardless of cost, meet this standard. Wrap-around sunglasses work best because they block UV rays from sneaking in from the side.

SPF. Sunscreens are assigned a sun protection factor (SPF) number that rates their effectiveness in blocking UV rays. Higher numbers indicate more protection. You should use a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15.

Reapplication. Sunscreen wears off. Put it on again if you stay out in the sun for more than two hours and after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.

Cosmetics. Some makeup and lip balms contain some of the same chemicals used in sunscreens. If they do not have at least SPF 15, don’t use them by themselves.

Sunscreen is one of the best ways of protecting yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. Make sure to get a sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreen labels that have “Broad Spectrum” means they protect against both kinds of rays. You also want to make sure to know the difference between “water resistant” and “waterproof”. The American Cancer Society says that “No sunscreens are waterproof or “sweat proof,” and manufacturers are no longer allowed to claim that they are. If a product’s front label makes claims of being water resistant, it must specify whether it lasts for 40 minutes or 80 minutes while swimming or sweating”. They recommend reapplying every two hours and even sooner if you are sweating or swimming.

No matter what summer activities you have planned this summer, make sure you protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. It takes 2 minutes to apply sunscreen and that can help save you from a lifetime of skin damage or even skin cancer.

Take a Sun Safety IQ Quiz from the American Cancer Society:
http://www.cancer.org/healthy/toolsandcalculators/quizzes/sun-safety/index’

Sources:
http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/sun-safety.htm
https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/documents/sunscreen.pdf
http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/radiationexposureandcancer/uvradiation/uv-radiation-avoiding-uv
http://www.cancer.org/cancer/news/features/stay-sun-safe-this-summer
http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/uva-and-uvb

Healing with Baltimore

Following the events in Baltimore over the past week, UMMC and UMMC Midtown Campus President and CEO, Jeffrey A. Rivest, expressed his gratitude to all those UMMC employees who helped keep the Center’s mission in mind during such a difficult time. UMMC plays an integral role in the Baltimore community and will continue to work for the betterment of the city and the nation moving forward.

Read his message to all UMMC employees:

Dear Colleagues,

The past week is one we will never forget. Today, our city begins to recover and heal. But while we begin the healing process, let us not forget the valuable lessons we have learned about the need for all who live and work in our city to be partners for change.

FB-OneBaltimore_1While we begin a long healing process, let me thank you again for your unwavering dedication to our mission and to our role in supporting quality of life through taking care of people in their time of need. Many of our colleagues did not miss a single hour of work, despite their need to plan for the safety of their families. They faced difficulty in getting to and from work, and for some, there was no ability to reach their homes safely. Yet while the city was in crisis, each of you remained fully committed to the needs of our patients. Despite enormous challenges, we continued to operate all hospital services normally, and most importantly, were here for those in our community who needed us.

Our ability to stay united around the singular mission of caring, despite high emotions and differences of opinion, speaks to the core of who we are and what we do. I am grateful to each of you and I am inspired by your dedication to make life better for others. We are all fortunate to have this opportunity and once again, all here at UMMC showed tremendous teamwork, respect, civility and professionalism.

I also offer my sincere thanks to our hospital Security team and our Incident Command team who worked tirelessly for over six days to support all of us, keep us informed, and keep us safe. This team exemplifies professionalism, adaptability and a commitment to serve.

It is a new week in Baltimore. The city-wide curfew has been lifted, National Guard troops are phasing out, and we can be energized by the wonderful examples of love and community we witnessed in our city this weekend. This gives us hope. However, there is a long journey ahead, and many things in our culture must change–here in Baltimore and in our nation.

Later this week, I will provide you additional information about UMMC’s essential role in the recovery and the rebuilding of the fabric of our community. As one of Baltimore’s largest employers, we have been deeply involved in our community and its challenges and successes. We have all learned lessons this past week and together with others, UMMC will recommit to providing critical partnerships for job readiness, skill development, community health, and career opportunities. While we have done much, our city and our neighborhoods need much more. We must be a part of doing more and doing it better.

rivest_jeffrey

Thank you again for all you do here at UMMC.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey A. Rivest
President and Chief Executive Officer