July is UV Safety Month
Skin Cancer is the Most Common Cancer in the U.S.
Summer is the perfect time to remind viewers about the dangers of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, and how to protect themselves in the sun. The skin is the body’s largest organ. It protects against heat, sunlight, injury, and infection. Yet, some of us don’t consider the necessity of protecting our skin.
Taking extra precaution with your skin this summer is more important than ever, as the rate of skin cancer has increased dramatically over the last decade. According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. More skin cancers are diagnosed each year than all other cancers combined.
How Do You Protect Yourself?
5 important steps to protect your skin:
Everyone should use a sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher every day, even on cloudy days. Choose a sunscreen that provides broad-spectrum coverage and is water resistant. Make sure to reapply every two hours and, if swimming, follow the directions on the bottle. Need a good sunscreen recommendation? Check out EltaMD!
Avoid Tanning Beds
Although tempting, tanning beds can cause just as much harm as the sun. Tanning beds and sun lamps can emit both UVA and UVB radiation. Their use has been linked to an increased risk of melanoma, especially if a person started using them before the age of 30, according to the American Cancer Society. Even if they feel safe, most doctors and health professionals would not recommend their use.
You can reduce your risk of sun damage and skin cancer by staying in the shade under an umbrella, tree, or other shelter. Your best bet to protect your skin is to use sunscreen or wear protective clothing when you’re outside—even when you’re in the shade.
When possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants and skirts, which can provide protection from UV rays. If wearing this type of clothing isn’t practical, try to wear a T-shirt or a beach cover-up. Clothes made from tightly woven fabric offer the best protection. Don’t forget your hat, too!
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. Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays offer the best protection. Most sunglasses sold in the United States, regardless of cost, meet this standard. Wrap-around sunglasses work best because they block UV rays from sneaking in from the side.
What to Do if you are Concerned about Skin Cancer?
Skin cancer develops in people of all ages, races, and nationalities. Everyone is at risk. Skin cancer develops on any area of the body.
As part of a complete skin cancer prevention strategy, The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that adults see a dermatologist at least once a year for a professional skin examination. In addition, any time you see something new, changing or unusual on your skin, make an appointment to get checked right away.