Did you know that skin cancer is the most common type of cancer found in the United States? The main cause of skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. UV rays can also damage the eyes and cause skin blotches and wrinkles.
July is UV Safety Month and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is urging communities, health professionals, and families to use the month to raise awareness of strategies for preventing skin cancer.
The best strategies for prevention are simple: Limit your time in the sun and wear sunscreen. To limit your exposure to UV rays, stay in the shade as much as possible between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and cover up with long sleeves, a hat, and sunglasses. When using sunscreen, use SPF 15 or higher and use one with both UVA and UVB protection. Sunscreen should be worn even on cloudy days since clouds do not prevent exposure to UV rays. Put your sunscreen on 30 minutes before you go outside, use enough to provide full coverage, and apply to your lips, ears, hands, feet, and the back your neck as well as the more obvious areas where you might burn. Reapply it every 2 hours and after you swim or sweat.
In addition to these strategies for protecting your skin, protecting your eyes from UV rays is important. When buying sunglasses, look for ones that block out at least 99% of both UVA and UVB radiation.
To learn more about skin cancer, skin cancer prevention, and resources available for UV Safety Month, check out the many useful links on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services healthfinder.gov website.