For many, soaking up the sun on a nice summer day is a favorite outdoor activity. But if you’ve ever stayed out a little too long and gotten sunburned, you know that it isn’t always all fun in the sun. Overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays may cause a painful sunburn, but it can also cause permanent skin damage and skin cancer. Luckily, there are easy ways to practice sun safety to keep yourself and your family safe.
What are the dangers? Overexposure can cause the skin to prematurely age, has been linked to eye conditions such as cataracts, and can affect the body’s immune system
- Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S. More than 1.2 million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year in the U.S.
- Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, kills one person every hour
- Just one blistering sunburn can double a child’s lifetime risk of developing skin cancer
- Sun damage can occur any time of year—in fact snow, sand, water and concrete all reflect 85 to 90 percent of the sun’s UV rays, increasing your chance of sunburn
- Everyone needs to wear sunscreen, no matter your skin color—even very dark skin can burn and develop skin cancer
There are a lot of things you can do to practice smart sun safety.
- Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when it is the most hazardous for UV exposure
- Apply a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher that offers both UVA and UVB protection
- It is recommended that children use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher
- Remember to reapply often, especially after swimming, perspiring and toweling off
- You can sunburn on a cloudy day, so wear sunscreen even if it is cloudy out
- Don’t forget to protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays
- Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs and a wide-brimmed hat to shade your head, face, neck and ears
- Stay in the shade whenever possible
Now that you’re prepared, pack a picnic, go swimming and take a hike. Continue to enjoy the great outdoors this summer with your family, just practice sun safety while you do!