12 January 2009

Skin damage: environmental risk factors

The following factors in the environment can increase your risk of skin damage from the sun.


The following factors in the environment can increase your risk of skin damage from the sun:

  • The time of day: avoid being outside from 11:00 to 15:00, when the sun is highest in the sky.
  • The time of year: the risk of skin damage is highest in the summer months, but skin damage can occur throughout the year.
  • The geographical latitude: the risk is greater the closer you are to the equator.
  • Cloud cover: the risk is greatest on a cloudless day. Note, however, that heavy cloud removes only about 50% to 90% of UV radiation.
  • Reflection: the UV risk is greatest near reflecting surfaces, such as water and snow.
  • Wind and water: don't be fooled by the cooling effect of wind and water – it doesn't reduce the risk.
  • Amount of sky visible: the risk is greatest when lots of sky can be seen.

Hawk, J.L.M. McGregor, J. (2000-2005) Understanding your skin: sunlight & skin cancer. Family Doctor Publications.


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