Skin cancer prevention in Charlotte, NC

Skin cancers (both non-melanoma and melanoma) are caused by too much UV radiation from the sun or other sources such as sunbeds, and sun lamps. Summer is on its way, and sunscreen is crucial protection of unprotected skin from the season’s harmful ultraviolet rays as we work, travel, and play outside. Before sunscreen, all we had was clothing. Even today, clothing is the most basic, and sometimes the best means of sun protection. However, it is important to understand that not all clothing is equal. Some clothing is designated as very good at protecting us. What makes a piece of clothing sun-safe? We want to discuss UPF clothing from a scientific viewpoint and not a marketing viewpoint.

What is UPF clothing?

UPF is a rating that is commonly used for clothing and fabrics that protect you from the sun. It distinguishes the amount of UVA and UVB radiation that penetrates the fabric and reaches the skin; just like SPF is a rating for sunscreens or cosmetic products containing sunscreen. As uncomfortable as it may sound during the hot, humid Charlotte summer; the more skin you cover, the better. However, even if you have clothing cover every square inch of your body, if the sun goes right through it, you are not protected. If you look at fabrics under a microscope; you can see lots of spaces between the fibers. UV rays pass directly through these holes to reach the skin. Hence, the tighter the knit or weave, the smaller the holes, and the less UV can get through. Most fibers naturally absorb some UV radiation. Some have elastic threads that increase UV protection by pulling the fibers tightly together. Synthetic fibers such as polyester, nylon, and acrylic are more protective than bleached cottons. Shiny or lustrous fabrics reflect more UV than does matte fabrics like linen. A fabric’s weight and density is also a factor. Light, sheer silk will provide far less UV protection than denim.

Understanding UPF rating

To understand UPF rating in the simplest terms, clothing with a UPF of 50 allows just 1/50th of the sun’s UV radiation to reach your skin. Typically, a thin white cotton T-shirt has a UPF of about 5, allowing 1/5th of the sun’s UV through, even more when wet. The system for testing and determining UPF are similar around the world. We want to be careful not to give the impression that you should specifically buy UPF-tested or UPF-labeled clothing. At this point in time, most labeled clothing carries a brand name, and carries an extra expense. As an alternative, skin cancer.org provides some helpful information regarding the UPF rating of different fabrics. Summer season should be fun, and protective clothing can be light and bright and fashionable. When used with sunscreen, you greatly reduce your risk for skin cancer.

Skin cancer screening in Charlotte, NC

Your risk for skin cancer can depend upon many factors. Dermatology Specialists of Charlotte can provide high quality and innovative treatment in a caring and professional environment. Dr. Nixon is a board-certified dermatologist, whose dedication, experience, and knowledge will provide the best possible treatment for your cosmetic and medical dermatology concerns.

Dermatology Specialists of Charlotte also offers surgical dermatology. They provide a full range of cosmetic offerings such as skin tightening, fat reduction, chemical peels, Botox treatments, microdermabrasion, and more. They provide treatment for both adult and pediatric patients. Call their Dermatology Specialists of Charlotte today for a skin care evaluation and skin cancer screening, or for any other skin condition.

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