JULY is UV (Ultraviolet) Safety Awareness Month!
We all love those warm summer rays, but everyone must remember to protect your skin and eyes from the damaging effects of the sun!
The sun emits radiation known as UV-A and UV-B rays. Both can be harmful to your eyes and skin:
• UV-A rays have longer wavelengths that can penetrate the middle layers of your skin (dermis). UV-A rays remove moisture and elasticity which causes wrinkling of the skin.
• UV-B rays have shorter wavelengths that can reach the outer layer of your skin (epidermis). UV-B rays cause a greater risk of skin cancer than UV-A rays.
• In most cases, UV rays react with melanin. This is the first defense against the sun. The melanin absorbs the dangerous UV rays that can cause sun damage…resulting in a sunburn! Prevention is key to reduce the risks of cancers, premature signs of aging, development of cataracts, and other harmful effects.
DID YOU KNOW THAT……
• There is NO such thing as a “safe tan”. Having a tan is the skin’s response to injury from ultraviolet (UV) light.
• 95% of all skin cancers in the U.S. are attributed to exposure to UV radiation.
• One in 75 people will develop malignant melanoma in their lifetime.
• Skin cancer caught in the early stages has almost a 100% cure rate.
• 50% of a person’s lifetime exposure to UV radiation occurs by the time they are 18 years old.
• Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is the number that reflects a product’s ability to block ultraviolet B (UV-B) radiation. It does not indicate an ability to block ultraviolet A (UV-A) radiation.
• Sunscreen should be applied 20 – 30 minutes before going out in the sun so it has a chance to bond with the skin.
• LIMIT TIME IN THE MIDDAY SUN
The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 AM and 4 PM. Whenever possible, limit your exposure to the sun during these hours.
• SEEK SHADE
Staying undercover is one of the best ways to protect yourself from the sun. The sun can still damage your skin on cloudy days or even in winter! Use extra caution near water, snow or sand. They will reflect the rays of the sun and increase risks for sunburn.
• ALWAYS USE SUNSCREEN
A “broad-spectrum” sunscreen protects you from BOTH UV-A and UV-B rays. Apply a sunscreen with a SPF of at least 30 or higher on exposed skin and reapply every 2 hours when working or playing outdoors. Even waterproof sunscreen can come off when you towel off, sweat or spend extended periods of time in the water. Apply a lip balm sunscreen with at least SPF of 15.
SPF 30 is NOT twice as good as SPF 15!!
SPF 15 blocks 93% of the UV-B and SPF 30 blocks 97% of UV-B rays
NO sunscreen blocks UV radiation 100%!!
• WEAR A HAT
A hat with a wide brim offers good sun protection to your eyes, ears, face and the back of your neck—areas particularly prone to overexposure to the sun
• COVER UP
Wearing tightly woven, loose-fitting and full-length clothing is a good way to protect your skin for the sun’s UV rays.
• WEAR SUNGLASSES THAT BLOCK 99-100% of UV RADIATION
Sunglasses that provide 99-100% UVA and UVB protection will greatly reduce sun exposure that can lead to cataracts and other eye damage.
Check the label!!
• EXAMINE YOUR SKIN REGULARLY
If you notice any changing, growing, or bleeding areas on your skin, see a healthcare provider right away.
• BE AWARE OF YOUR MEDICATION
Some over the counter and prescription medications can increase your skin’s sensitivity to UV rays. The result can be a severe sunburn in just minutes!! Read all medication labels!!
By learning the risks associated with too much sun exposure and taking the right precautions to protect you and your family from UV rays, everyone can enjoy the sun and outdoors safely!
(Sources: CDC and Cancer Council)