School’s out which means the hot, sunny weather of summer is almost here.
With the warmer temperatures comes an increased danger of overexposure to the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun while working or playing outside.
The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention has designated the Friday before Memorial Day as “Don’t Fry Day“ to encourage sun safety awareness and to remind everyone to protect their skin while enjoying the outdoors.
This year alone, the American Cancer Society estimates there will be more than 68,000 new cases of malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, and more than two million new cases of basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers in the U.S.
You might think that wearing a hat or slapping on some sunscreen in the morning means that you’re protected from the sun’s damaging rays, but the NCSCP says that no single step can fully protect you and your family from overexposure to UV radiation.
To decrease your risk of skin damage, follow as many of the following tips as possible:
- Avoid intentional tanning, and using tanning beds.
- Apply sunscreen generously.
- Wear sun-protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses.
- Seek shade.
- Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand.
- Get vitamin D safely through food and supplements.
A common mistake is thinking that you can’t get a sunburn because the sun isn’t shining. The NCSCP reminds us that most sunburns are acquired on a hazy day. Many people mistakenly assume that if it’s cool or cloudy outdoors they won’t get burned. They don’t realize that while clouds might block the heat (infrared) energy, the sun’s skin-damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays can still penetrate through quite strongly.
If you really enjoy the sun-kissed look, using a sunless self-tanning product and continuing to apply sunscreen can help greatly reduce skin cancer risk. Individuals with lighter-toned skin are more susceptible to UV damage, although people of all races and ethnicities can be at risk for skin cancer.
Image Credit: Flickr – timparkinson