As the warmer months approach and people spend more time outdoors, protecting our skin becomes top of mind. Skin cancer remains the most common form of cancer, making it extremely important that we search for more ways to protect our skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Avoiding sunlight completely is neither plausible nor desirable, so the more we understand how to protect our skin from the sun the better.
Causes of Skin Cancer
It’s no secret that the most common cause of skin cancer is UV rays from the sun. The sun emits three types of UV rays: UVA, UVB, and UVC. As more research surfaces year after year, we continually collect more information about the damage caused by each type of UV ray.
UV rays are part of the electromagnetic spectrum — just like the colors of the rainbow! Only you can’t see them because their wavelengths are shorter than visible light. Exposure to both UVA and UVB rays increase the chances of developing skin cancer.
UVA rays are less intense than UVB rays, but they are more prevalent. They contribute to accelerated skin aging and wrinkling by penetrating deep into the dermis.
UVA rays are used in tanning beds. At one time, people believed that tanning beds were a safer method of tanning your skin, but we now know this is not the case. The concentrated amount of UVA rays absorbed during a tanning session is extremely harmful and should be avoided.
UVB rays are responsible for the reddening or burning of your skin. They have a shorter wavelength than UVA rays and are more intense. While UVA rays remain constant year-round, UVB rays reach maximum intensity during the summer months.
You’re probably wondering, “What about those UVC rays you mentioned?” You don’t need to worry about those. Their wavelengths are even shorter than UVB rays and are absorbed by the ozone layer before they are can reach Earth.
Strategies for Preventing Skin Cancer
Since avoiding the sun completely is not an option, we must have a set of strategies in place to prevent skin cancer. Here are a few tips for protecting your skin from harmful UV rays:
- Wear sunscreen. This is a no-brainer! Choose a daily facial moisturizer with at least 30 SPF, and reapply sunscreen frequently to all exposed skin when spending time outside.
- Seek the shade. When spending time outdoors, find shade under a canopy or tree when possible. You can also bring your own shade by packing an umbrella.
- Slide on your sunglasses. Your skin isn’t the only part of your body that is vulnerable to the sun. Wearing sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection is essential for protecting your eyes from sun damage.
- Pack a hat. Wide-brimmed hats are not only in style, but they also provide much-needed sun protection for your face.
- Invest in window film. Did you know that you are also exposed to UV rays while indoors? UV protection window film offers a passive way of preventing skin cancer. While the previous skin cancer prevention strategies are also effective, they require continuous action on your part. After the window film is installed, it will provide UV protection for years to come.
How Window Film Prevents Skin Cancer
While many people are diligent about applying sunscreen, searching for shade, and wearing sunglasses and hats to protect their skin when they’re outside, most people don’t realize that they should also take preventative measures while they are inside. Untinted glass does not block UVA rays from entering your space, meaning you are not protected just because you are inside. This relatively new piece of information is supported by an observation dermatologists have made for years. People tend to develop more freckles, wrinkles, and other signs of aging on their left side. Why? Because as they are driving a car, their left side is more exposed to the UVA rays penetrating the driver’s side window.
Just like car windows, the windows of your home or commercial space permit the transmittance of UVA rays. UV protection window film serves as a very effective way to prevent skin cancer year round. The multilayered film filters sun rays based on their wavelength. This allows natural light into your space while blocking 99% of UVA and UVB rays. Just like Coppertone sunscreen and L.L. Bean UPF clothing, 3M window film products have earned the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation. This shows how window film is part of a holistic approach to preventing skin cancer.
Locally owned and operated in Richmond, Virginia for over 35 years, Solar Film provides custom window tinting services to homes and businesses in central Virginia, Williamsburg, and the Northern Neck. We use premium quality 3M™ materials for temperature control, glare reduction, UV protection, privacy, and security window film solutions. As a 3M™ Authorized Dealer and member of the Prestige Dealer Network, we offer many varieties of window film. Get in touch with us today for a free quote!