Using the UV index to protect your skin

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Last weeks cloudy days gave way to much more sunshine to start this week, but all that sun can harm your skin.

Any two sunny days aren’t necessarily equal in terms of potential skin damage. The sun is out and so are the people, biking, walking or jogging.

It’s nice get out in the late spring warmth again, but the suns rays can be harmful. However you can use the UV index to estimate the sun’s strength.

The UV index is a number from 0 to 15, the higher the number, the stronger the sun’s ultraviolet rays and the faster you’re likely to burn.

The UV index can change from day to day. It’s affected by elevation, the amount of clouds in the sky, the amount of ozone in the atmosphere as well as the angle of the sun.

Dermatologist Dr. Yolanda Lenzy finds that people underestimate how much sun exposure they get.

“Even driving in the car we get a good amount of sun and that’s why we tend to see a lot more left sided skin cancers because of the sun coming in from the car window,” said Dr. Lenzy from Lenzy Dermatology in Chicopee.

The sun’s ultraviolet rays cause mutations in our DNA which can lead to skin cancer. Many people try and protect themselves regardless of how strong the sun is.

“The UV index is a good reminder to people on when to put on how much sun block, but most of the time I won’t look at it, I’ll just go ahead and put the sun block on, said William Febres from Enfield.

Dr. Lenzy recommends using a sunscreen with an SFP of at least 30 and reapplying every two to three hours.

While a high SPF sunscreen is good, a high UV index is harmful. Monday’s UV index in Western Mass was a ten, very high.

To check out the latest UV index report, click here and look at the third thumbnail.

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