Cover your skin
As the Western Hemisphere turns from winter to spring, we are reminded of the need to protect ourselves from the sun. (Actually, sun protection should be a part of our routines year-round, but even more so as the sun intensifies). Many of us, who are on steroids or immune-suppressing or modulating drugs, or have dermatomyositis (DM) or Lupus, may be highly sensitive to the sun. Having myositis also puts us at a higher risk for malignancies, especially with dermatomyositis. Protecting our skin becomes a required aspect of our treatment plan. The Skin Cancer Foundation has also addressed sun protection options: Skin Cancer Foundation
Some ways you can protect yourself are:
Always wear a hat
The skin of the face, ears, and scalp is especially vulnerable to the harmful rays of the sun. There are so many on the market, and wide-brimmed hats are most effective. Some brands to check out are: Tilley and Coolibar
UPF Clothing and Accessories
Treated clothing is so important because we can get the negative effects of the sun through a t-shirt. There are all sorts of options, including lightweight, but UPF treated, scarves, gloves, jackets, swimsuits, shirts, pants, neck gators, sleeves, hoods and umbrellas.
Clothing can be washed with products that add UPF to the existing fibers. RIT makes one: Sunguard Sun Protection
Please make sure to use sunscreen on any skin that will be exposed. Even driving in your car can leave you vulnerable to sunlight. There are a wide variety of sunscreens, but generally, most dermatologists agree that it should be a UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum with an SPF of at least 30. Personal preference and experience may lead you to use higher levels. Emily has DM and always uses at least 30, and can tell a difference if she uses a lower SPF. Some brands that have been recommended by dermatologists to us are EltaMD and Neutrogena Helioplex.
Car Window Tinting
Many people have the windows tinted in their cars to cut down on sun exposure while driving or riding as a passenger. This is moderately expensive but has great benefits for your health. Car window tinting can usually be done through your local car dealership but may require special permission when used for medical purposes.
No matter how you do it, please protect your beautiful skin!Tags: sun exposure