The summer months are known for being hot, hot, and HOT! There are many benefits to being outdoors in the sunlight, such as exercising, swimming, and getting a daily supply of Vitamin D. July is when summer is in full swing and it is also UV Safety Awareness month. UV Safety Awareness month is a reminder of the connection between ultraviolet (UV) light and cancers of the skin, eye, and lip.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that nearly 100,000 new cases of melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, will occur in 2020. That’s over 4,000 more cases than in 2019.
The sun emits radiation known as UV-A and UV-B rays. Both types can damage our eyes and skin. By learning the risks associated with too much sun, everyone can enjoy a fun-filled sunny day. Here are a few of the harmful things unprotected sun exposure can do:
• Premature aging of the skin
• Damage to eyes
• Skin cancer
Fortunately, it is easy to reduce chances of getting skin cancer. Here are a few things to do to minimize the risk that comes with sun exposure.
• Seek shade when outside during mid-day hours when UV exposure is the highest
• Wear protective clothing such as wide-brimmed hats, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and sunglasses
• Apply SPF 15+ sunscreen generously and often
• Avoid tanning beds and minimize sunbathing
• Check the UV index
While being in the sun can offer some health benefits, such as synthesis of vitamin D, it is important to talk with a healthcare provider about any risks regarding exposure. And remember, enjoy the summer and protect the skin you are in!