Sun Protection - clothing and sunscreen

Sun Protection - clothing and sunscreen - picture » The Integumentary System » Sun Protection - clothing

Sun Protection is methods to safeguard the SKIN from SUNBURN and sun damage. Though the body requires a certain amount of sun exposure to produce certain vitamins (such as vitamin D) and help eliminate chemical wastes from the body, ultraviolet light is a potential hazard for the cells. Melanin production, which results in darkening the skin, is the body’s primary method for protecting itself. The lighter a person’s natural skin color, however, the less effective this method. Many health conditions that affect the skin, most notably SKIN CANCER, result from overexposure to the sun and in particular to ultraviolet B (UVB) light.

Sun Protective Clothing

Clothing that covers or shades the skin surfaces is the most effective protection from sun exposure and can block more than 90 percent of the sun’s ultraviolet light, though it is still possible to acquire a sunburn through clothing. Fabric with a tight weave is more effective than fabric with a loose weave. Many items currently manufactured specifically for outdoor activities now use yarns and weaving techniques that substantially block ultraviolet light. Manufacturers use ultravioletprotection factor (UPF) ratings to designate the extent of the fabric’s ability to prevent ultraviolet light penetration. The higher the UPF rating, the more effective the protection. Solid-weave, broadbrimmed hats help protect the scalp and shelter the ears, NOSE, and back of the neck. Technical gear for many outdoor sports, such as bicycling and kayaking, includes gloves that protect the hands from friction and pressure as well as sun exposure. Sunglasses that block UVA and UVB light are necessary to shelter the eyes.

A sunscreen product’s SPF rating applies only to UVB blocking, so it is important to read the product label to determine what protection the product can provide.


Sunscreens that chemically block ultraviolet light from penetrating the skin’s surface became available in the 1980s. These chemicals work by absorbing the light so it does not reach the cells. Most sunscreens block UVB; some also block UVA. A sunscreen’s sun-protection factor (SPF) rating, provides a general idea of how long the product can provide protection based on a time-related formula. In general, a fair-skinned person will get a sunburn after about 10 minutes of unprotected exposure to the sun. A sunscreen’s SPF rating is a multiplier of that marker. A sunscreen with an SPF rating of 15, for example, theoretically permits 15 times as long in the sun before burning, or 150 minutes. A sunscreen with an SPF of 30 would allow 300 minutes. These are general guidelines, however, and dermatologists recommend applying more sunscreen about every two hours during exposure (as well as SPF lip balms to protect the lips). Dermatologists recommend sunscreens that block both UVA and UVB lightwaves.

Because both sunscreen use and skin cancer are on the rise, some researchers have questioned whether sunscreens cause, rather than prevent, skin cancer. Though there are few clinical studies of such a correlation, so far there is no evidence to support this concern. Nor is there evidence to support claims that sunscreens promote estrogenic activity in the body, another concern that some people have raised. Health experts agree that proper application of sunscreen is the most effective defense to protect the skin from damage.

Time of Exposure

The sun’s ultraviolet light is most intense from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the United States. Health experts recommend staying out of the sun as much as possible during that period of time, especially during summer months. When this is not practical, dermatologists recommend combining protective clothing and sunscreen for maximum protection.


Resource: Facts On File Encyclopedia Of Health And Medicine

Each atricle being rated on a scale of 1 to 5 stars.
Please rate this article
Article Rating: 2,7 stars of 5

Discussion and opinions:

Insert your opinion:

Tweet this page

Other Articles

Xanthoma definition

The Integumentary System |

Xanthoma is a fatty deposit that forms a benign (noncancerous) LESION beneath the SKIN, though also may occur in other tissues. Xanthomas develop in people who have chronic, untreated HYPERLIPIDEMIA (elevated BLOOD cholesterol and triglycerides levels). In their most common form, xanthomas appear as yellowish blebs beneath the skin, typically rounded or

Wrinkles treatment

The Integumentary System |

Wrinkles are furrows or channels in the SKIN, typically resulting from repeated movements, such as facial expressions (for example, crow’s feet and laugh lines), or from long-term exposure to sun and wind. Aging is the single-most significant factor that causes wrinkles. Wrinkles increase with age as the skin loses collagen and subsequently

Whitlow - herpes

The Integumentary System |

Whitlow is an INFECTION at the end of the finger, or less commonly the end of a toe, that contains pus and is very painful. The area is inflamed, enlarged, erythematous (reddened), and often oozing. A common cause of whitlow is infection with the HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS (HSV), conveyed to the finger via contact with infectious secretions from oral herpes

Wheal - raised, blisterlike lesion on the skin

The Integumentary System |

Wheal is a raised, blisterlike LESION on the SKIN that usually results from an intradermal injection such as for ALLERGY skin testing or the tuberculin skin test. Wheals also may occur in response to insect stings and topical allergic reactions (URTICARIA or hives). Wheals associated with urticaria typically itch, sometimes intensely. Wheals usually do not

Wart - causes, symptoms and removal

The Integumentary System |

What are Warts and What Causes Warts Wart is a growth, typically rough and raised, that appears on the SKIN. The HUMAN PAPILLOMAVIRUS (HPV), which has numerous strains, causes common warts as well as variations including genital warts (a common sexually transmitted disease) and plantar warts which appear on the soles (plantar surfaces) of the feet. Because

Vitiligo disease - symptoms, treatment and causes

The Integumentary System |

Vitiligo - a condition of hypopigmentation in which melanocytes die in patches of SKIN, leaving macules that are pale and depigmented. Dermatologists believe vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder in which the IMMUNE SYSTEM produces antibodies that attack melanocytes, the skin cells responsible for producing pigment. Vitiligo affects people of all races and

What is Vesicle and definition

The Integumentary System |

Vesicle is a small, blisterlike LESION on the SKIN that contains serous fluid. Vesicles typically occur in clusters and indicate INFECTION, such as with HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS (HSV), or irritation, such as results from contact with poison ivy. Skin vesicles often hurt or itch. Treatment may include topical medications to relieve discomfort, with oral

Urticaria - acute/chronic - definition, causes, treatment and complications

The Integumentary System |

What is Urticaria and Definition Urticaria is the clinical term for hives, an outbreak of wheals on the SKIN’s surface. Acute urticaria, which comes on suddenly, typically signals a HYPERSENSITIVITY REACTION. The wheals contain fluid the IMMUNE RESPONSE draws from the cells of the skin. They itch, often intensely (PRURITUS), and may appear and recede

Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis - Stevens Johnsons Syndrome

The Integumentary System |

Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis is a life-threatening inflammatory condition affecting the SKIN and underlying connective tissues, also called Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Toxic epidermal necrolysis usually results as an adverse DRUG reaction though may occur as a complication of INFECTION or CANCER. Doctors believe toxic epidermal necrolysis develops when an

Tissue Expansion

The Integumentary System |

What is Tissue Expansion Tissue Expansion is a method for growing additional SKIN to use for autologous (self) skin grafts. Autologous grafts have the best rate of success when transplanted because they are native to the body and present no risk for graft rejection. Tissue expansion is a common method for many reconstructive surgery procedures, though