As enjoyable as it is to have fun in the sun, it’s important to protect your skin in the midst of that good time.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Most cases of melanoma, the deadliest kind of skin cancer, are caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes on its website that in order to lower your skin cancer risk, you should protect your skin from the sun and avoid indoor tanning.
Here are some safety tips the CDC recommends:
Check the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s UV Index before you spend time outdoors. Plan your sun protection accordingly, using these tips:
- Seek shade, especially during midday hours.
- Cover up with clothing to protect exposed skin.
- Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears and neck.
- Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block as close to 100 percent of UV rays as possible.
- Use sunscreen with “broad spectrum protection” and a sun protection factor (SPF) 15 or higher.
- Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours and after swimming, sweating or toweling off.
A few facts about skin cancer
- The sun’s UV rays can damage unprotected skin in as little as 15 minutes. That said, it can take as long as 12 hours for skin to show the full effect of sun exposure.
- It’s not about the temperature. Even if it’s cool and cloudy, you still need protection from UV rays.
- Tanned skin is damaged skin. Any change in the color of your skin after time outside—whether sunburn or suntan—indicates damage from UV rays.
- Indoor tanning exposes users to both UVA and UVB rays, which damage the skin and can lead to cancer.
- The most common sign of skin cancer is a change in your skin, such as a new growth, a sore that doesn’t heal, or a change in a mole.
Visit the CDC website to find more information on skin cancer awareness.