Sun safety is never out of season. Whether you’re going to the beach, enjoying an autumn hike or building a snowman, protect your overall health and avoid sun damage.
Studies show that exposure to the sun can cause skin cancer, the most common form of cancer in the United States. Harmful rays from the sun and tanning beds may also cause premature aging and other health problems.
Sun damage is caused by invisible, but harmful, ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
Everyone is susceptible to sunburn and other harmful effects of exposure to UV radiation. Take these precautions to protect your skin:
Avoid the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Even on an overcast day, up to 80 percent of the sun’s UV rays can get through the clouds. Stay in the shade as much as possible.
Wear clothes that protect your body and cover it as much as possible. Consider a wide-brimmed hat, long sleeves and pants, as well as an umbrella for shade.
Ask your health care provider if any of your medications increase sun sensitivity.
Use lip balm and water-resistant sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside for any activity and reapply every 90 minutes or after swimming or sweating.
Buy sunglasses that specifically offer 100 percent UV protection. Wraparound sunglasses offer the most protection. Children should wear real sunglasses (not toy sunglasses!) that indicate the UV protection level.
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. However, when detected early, melanoma can be effectively treated. If you have moles, brown spots or growths on your skin, monitor them regularly for the following:
one half is unlike the other half
irregular, scalloped or poorly defined border
varied from one area to another; shades of tan, brown, black, white, red or blue
while melanomas are usually greater than 6 mm (the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, they can be smaller
a mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape or color
How and Where to Check
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