It’s not just skin cancer, though: Excessive UV exposure is also a risk factor for cataracts and other eye complications, including corneal sunburn and damage to the retina, Dr. Lortscher told CNET.
Shade Can these UV devices protect you from a sunburn? Yes and no: Dr. Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, M. D. , owner of Mudgil Dermatology in New York, told CNET that while commercially available UV detectors and apps can be helpful in assessing UV exposure, they may not be very precise, and it’s best to just take simple precautions like wearing sunscreen and hats. Dr.
Lortscher noted that tracking devices such as My Skin Track, Shade or UV-sensitive stickers can be helpful if you spend a lot of time outdoors and tend to forget to reapply sunscreen.
Here’s everything you need to know about UV exposure, including some at-home ways you can measure it to protect your skin from burns and cancer.
After all the build-up about sun exposure and skin cancer, you might be surprised (and possibly a bit relieved) that you don’t truly need to track your UV exposure.
UV-tracking devices and color-changing stickers keep tabs on your sun exposure, but you don’t necessarily need them to keep your skin safe.
People who already have or had skin cancer, or a skin condition or disease (such as Lupus) aggravated by sun exposure, may want to track UV with a device.
The connection between sun exposure and skin cancer is clear, and I have to say that as I get older, I’ve stopped being so stubborn about lounging in the sun without sunscreen in hopes that I can still save my skin from years of unprotected sun exposure.
For example, if you live in Florida and have fair skin, you could spend 10 to 15 minutes outdoors midday in shorts and a tank top and get all the sun exposure you need.
If the relationship between sun exposure and skin cancer is so well-documented, why do beaches become speckled with millions of people sprawled out on lounge chairs each summer?
How much vitamin D your body produces from sun exposure depends on your skin type, where you live, and how you interact with the sun.
Before you head outside, there are ways to minimize your UV exposure and protect your skin from the sun’s rays.
UVB exposure also accelerates skin aging, suppresses some immune functions and contributes to the development of skin cancer.
"I personally do not measure my UV exposure, but do whatever I can to minimize it," Dr. Lortscher told CNET. "And when UV exposure is unavoidable — such as when I’m surfing, hiking or snowboarding — I apply and reapply sunscreen".
Based on your UV exposure and other environmental factors, such as altitude, My Skin Track warns you when you should be concerned about your exposure.
In particular, you need sun exposure to make adequate vitamin D, which regulates many processes in the body, such as helping the body absorb calcium to keep bones healthy.
The stickers change color after a certain degree of sun exposure, a helpful nudge to remind you to reapply sunscreen, put on a cover-up or seek shade.
Prolonged and cumulative UVA exposure damages the collagen fibers in your skin, which contributes to signs of aging: wrinkles, age spots and loss of elasticity.
My Skin Track UV keeps tabs on your daily sun exposure.
Many people argue that the current public health message about sun exposure is misleading, because humans do need sunshine for optimal health.
If you live in a place where there isn’t much sunshine, or you have darker skin, you may need more time in the sun to produce adequate vitamin D.
So yes, you do need sun exposure — but not so much that you need to lie in tanning beds or spend several hours outdoors without sunscreen.
"One of the easiest ways to monitor sun exposure is looking at the daily UV index, which is given on the iPhone Weather app," Dr. Torbeck told CNET.
The easiest way to protect your skin from the sun is already on your phone https://t.co/4Ecieckubv— CNET News (@CNETNews) July 3, 2019