The Basics: Sun Protection

If you have been fortunate enough to enjoy some sunshine in these last few weeks it is time to remember to protect yourself from those UV rays. Spending time outside is a great way to be physically active, reduce stress, and get vitamin D. However, it is important to ensure that you are also preventing sun damage. Legacy Medical Sales wants to make sure you have all the correct information about sun protection and the necessary supplies.

What are the dangers of sun damage?

Too much unprotected exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause skin damage, eye damage, immune system suppression, and skin cancer. Even people in their twenties can develop skin cancer. Skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light and UV rays can damage skin cells. Sun damage is cumulative, five or more sunburns increases your risk for melanoma. One in five people will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. Melanin is a protective pigment in the skin that blocks UV radiation from damaging DNA. However, people with red hair produce little of the melanin that is good at blocking the sun’s harmful light, and produce more of the melanin that doesn’t do as good of a job in blocking sunlight, making them more likely to get sunburned. Surprisingly the rate of melanoma deaths in the US is expected to increase 6.5% in 2022. Utah, Delaware, Vermont, Minnesota and Idaho have the highest skin cancer rates of all U.S. states. 

Ninety percent of aging is due to sun exposure, this long-term damage can cause wrinkles, discoloration, and other issues. Sunlight is also responsible for age spots or “liver spots” on the hands, face, and other sun-exposed areas. Unfortunately, UV rays can alter your DNA, and this type of sun damage is not reversible. While you can treat the aesthetic effects of sun damage, you unfortunately can’t reduce or reverse DNA damage caused by the sun.

How can I protect myself from sun damage?

There are many ways to protect yourself from the harmful rays of the sun. The sun’s stimulation of Vitamin D production in the body doesn’t just affect mental health. It can also improve skin and bone health, since Vitamin D strengthens your cells. Remember, UV rays tend to be strongest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. so it’s best to enjoy the benefits of the sunshine before or after those peak times. 

Employers of workers who are mostly outside should provide training regarding sun exposure. The CDC has more detailed information for employers regarding sun protection here: Employees should be advised to wear a broad spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays and has an SPF of 15 or higher 15-30 minutes before going outside. You’ll want a sunscreen with broad-spectrum or multi-spectrum protection for both UVB and UVA. Ingredients with broad-spectrum protection include benzophenones (oxybenzone), cinnamates (octylmethyl cinnamate and cinoxate), sulisobenzone, salicylates, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, avobenzone (Parsol 1789) and ecamsule (Mexoryl SX). Legacy Medical Sales has a variety of sunscreens available here.

Other ways to protect against the effects of the UV rays include:

  • Staying in the shade
  • Wear protective clothing- long sleeves and long pants 
  • Wear a wide brim hat
  • Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses
  • Wear lip balm with SPF to protect your lips
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours

The CDC provides more detailed sun protection information here:

Legacy Medical Sales is here to make sure that you are informed on how to best protect yourself from the harmful effects of the sun’s rays. If you don’t see the product you need on our website or you have questions about our sunscreens, simply contact a sales representative at or call 1-800-446-7310.