July is National
UV Safety Month
Be Safe in The Sun
With summer in full swing, it’s the perfect time to head outdoors and enjoy the sunny weather. But are you protecting yourself from potential risks?
The goal of UV (Ultraviolet) Safety Month is to spread the word about how important it is to protect everyone’s skin from the harmful effects of UV rays.
What is UV Radiation?
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation are invisible rays that are part of the energy that comes from the sun. Overexposure to the sun’s UV rays can cause damage to the skin and cause different types of skin cancer. It’s always important to stay safe when your family is playing in the sun.
While it may seem like a sunburn is a temporary irritation, it can leave long-lasting damage to your skin. According to the Melanoma Research Foundation, “Just one blistering sunburn during childhood can double the chances of developing melanoma later in life.”
5 Ways to Protect Your Skin from UV Radiation
1. Wear Sunscreen
Everyone should use a sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher every day, even on cloudy days (check the UV index). Make sure to reapply every two hours and, if swimming, follow the directions on the bottle.
Opt for clothes that provide different levels of UV protection such as long-sleeved shirts, or long pants. Colors can make a difference as well in your sun protection. Generally, the darker the color, the better the protection.
You can reduce your risk of skin damage and skin cancer by seeking shade under an umbrella, tree, or other shelter. Remember to use susncreen or wear protective clothing even in the shade!
4. Hat and Sunglasses
For the most protection, wear a hat with a brim all the way around that shades your face, ears, and the back of your neck.
Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts. They also protect the tender skin around your eyes from sun exposure.
5. Avoid Tanning Beds
Tanning beds can cause just as much harm as the sun. Tanning beds and sun lamps can emit both UVA and UVB radiation.
According to the American Cancer Society, tanning bed use has been linked to an increased risk of melanoma, especially if a person started using them before the age of 30.
Increased Risk for Some
While skin cancer can affect anyone, certain factors can increase your risk.
The lighter your skin, the higher the risk for melanoma. If you tend to burn easily or have a history of blistering sunburns, this could make your risk higher as well.
If you have a lot of moles (atypical nevi), or your moles happen to be on the larger side, your risk of melanoma could be higher.
A family history of melanoma or you had melanoma in the past could be a higher risk for melanoma. Also, if you have a history of blistering sunburns.