Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Sun protection is simply guarding a body from the adverse effects of sunlight. Aside from the hazards of heat, the sun poses the danger of
sunburn, which can permanently damage the skin and cause skin cancer, precancerous changes in the skin, as well as premature
wrinkling and signs of aging. Exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun is a known risk factor for the development of both melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers.
The best ways to avoid sunburn are to do the following:
Limit time in the sun, especially between peak sunlight hours of 10 a.m. and
Wear protective clothing, including
a broad-brimmed hat,
a shirt with sleeves that cover the arms,
a long skirt or pants with long legs.
Use a protective sunscreen to minimize the penetration of the
sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Use a water-resistant sunscreen if swimming or perspiring heavily.
What is sunscreen?
Sunscreen is any substance or material that protects the skin from
UV radiation. Sunscreens are available in the forms of topical
lotion, cream, ointment, gel, or spray that can be applied to the
skin; a salve or stick that can be applied to the lips, nose, and
eyelids; a moistener in towelettes that
can be rubbed against the skin; sunglasses that protect the eyes; certain types of sun-protection clothing; and
film screen that can be affixed to the windows of a car, room, or
office. Many facial moisturizers and cosmetics products also offer some degree of sun protection.
Reviewed by William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR on 2/9/2012
Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
K. Hecht, PhD
Most people are understandably confused when it comes to
choosing a sunscreen
because of the baffling array of available choices. Common questions about
How high should the SPF be?
Should it block UVA or UVB?
Does it matter whether it is a gel, cream, or spray?
Should it be water-resistant or waterproof?
SPF stands for sun protection
The SPF numbers on a product can range from as low as 2 to as high as 60. These
numbers refer to the product's ability to screen or block out the sun's burning
rays. The SPF rating is calculated by comparing the amount of time needed to
produce sunburnon protected skin to
the amount of time needed to cause a sunburn on unprotected skin. The higher the
SPF, the greater the sun protection. However, it is a common mistake to assume that the duration of effectiveness of a sunscreen can be calculated simply by multiplying the SPF by the length of time it takes for him or her to suffer a burn without sunscreen, because the amount of sun exposure a person receives is dependent upon more than just the length of time spent in the sun. The amount of sun exposure depends upon a number of factors including the length of exposure, time of day, geographic location, and weather conditions.