Did you know both UVA and UVB rays can damage skin and cause skin cancer? Did you know skin cancer is the leading cancer in the US? When it comes to exposure to the sun there are no safe UV rays. In honor of UV Safety Awareness Month, we look at the harmful effects and ways to protect yourself.
What are UV rays?
Ultraviolet (UV) rays are produced by the sun. These can lead to sunburn, skin cancer, and skin aging. UV rays are year-round, not just the summer, and can penetrate through clouds. The two types of rays that damage your skin cells DNA:
- UVB rays – These penetrate the outer layers of the skin and are a key factor in developing skin cancer.
- UVA rays – These penetrate the middle layer of your skin and cause skin aging and wrinkles.
- Sun Protection – Sunscreen (SPF) should be used daily to protect one’s self from day-to-day exposure. If going out in the sun choose an SFP 15 or higher. Sunscreen does wear off and should be reapplied when swimming, sweating, etc.. for more than 2 hours.
** SPF Tip: When looking for sunscreen check for the words “broad spectrum” on the label. This indicates that the product can protect you from UVB and UVA rays **
- Time of Day – During spring and summer months UV rays tend to be strongest between 10 am to 4 pm. On especially hot and sunny days plan outdoor activities in the morning or early evening.
- Seek Shade – On days to the beach, a family picnic, or any type of outing, choose an area with shade like under a tree, umbrella, or other shelters.
- Cover-Up – Choose clothing like breathable long sleeve shirts, wide-brimmed hats, or a light scarf to shield your skin from harmful UV rays.
Skin Cancer Facts
- 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70.
- Having 5 or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma.
- Survival rate from melanoma is 99% if detected early.
- More than 2 people die of skin cancer in the US every hour.