Skin cancer can be serious for the 5 million people treated each year for it in the US. It is the most common form of cancer in the US and, in many cases, it can be prevented.
Exposure to Ultraviolet (UV) rays, whether from the sun or artificial sources (i.e. tanning beds) are known to be associated with increased risk for skin cancer. Damage to the skin from UV exposure does build up over time, so protection early in life is very important.
When are you at greatest risk for damaging UV exposure?
Midday hours (between 10am and 4pm)
- Close proximity to the equator
- During summer months
- While at high altitudes
How can you protect yourself from harmful UV exposure?
Reduce time in the sun between 10am and 4pm
- If outdoors, sit in shade and/or wear protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, and UV-blocking sunglasses.
- Be aware of bright surfaces, like sand, water and snow– which reflect UV and increase exposure.
- Avoid indoor tanning and sunbathing.
- Tanning beds DO NOT offer protection against future sunburns.
Generously (a shotglass full of sunscreen per application) apply broad spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen every 2 hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating. It is best to initially apply your sunscreen 15 minutes before first exposure to allow for maximum skin protection.
- Sunscreens that are safer to the human body include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as ingredients.
- Sunscreen DOES have an expiration or use by date. If not used within 3 years, it should be disposed of.