Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the nation, with almost 5.5 million cases diagnosed each year – more than breast, colon, lung and prostate cancers combined. In fact, one out of every five Americans will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer in their lifetime. The good news is that 90 percent of skin cancers are preventable. The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention has designated this Friday, May 28, as Sun Safety Day to encourage sun safety awareness and to remind everyone to protect their skin while enjoying the outdoors.
Practice these sun safety tips to protect your skin and minimize the harmful effects of sun exposure.
- Check the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) UV radiation index daily. The EPA also has a UV Index smartphone app that you can download and use.
- Never tan intentionally. Do not use tanning beds.
- Seek shade under an umbrella, tree or other shelter, especially during midday hours when the sun’s rays are strongest – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from March through October and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. from November through February.
- When possible, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, or clothes that cover your arms and legs.
- Wear a hat with a brim all the way around that shades your face, ears, and the back of your neck and wear sunglasses that block UV rays.
- Generously apply broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher on every part of your body that is not covered by clothes, even on slightly cloudy or cool days.
- Make sure to hydrate and drink plenty of cool, clear water or sports drinks with electrolytes after prolonged sun exposure. Avoid alcoholic beverages if you are dehydrated.
- Use extra caution near water, snow, sand, and concrete, as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun.
For additional resources and information, visit the CDC Skin Cancer page.