With warmer, sunny weather upon us, we often spend more and more time outside. But with sun exposure comes risks of developing skin cancer, the most common form of cancer in the United States. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, one in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in his or her lifetime.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends the following measures to ensure you are protecting yourself against the sun’s damaging effects:
Limit your sun exposure
Try to avoid being in the sun when the sun’s rays are the strongest, and try to stay in the shade as much as you can. The American Cancer Society recommends staying out of the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
When outside, wear protective clothing and use an umbrella for shade when possible. And don’t forget to protect yourself on cloudy days.
Protect your eyes
Don’t forget to protect your eyes from the sun. Purchase sunglasses with 99 to 100 percent UV protection; wraparound sunglasses are best. Also make sure children wear real–not toy–sunglasses that list the UV protection.
Use a generous amount of a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least an SPF 15. Be sure to apply enough (about a shot glass worth for an average adult) and often (at least every 2 hours).
Avoid tanning beds
Tanning bed use has been linked with an increased risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, especially if it is started before the age of 30. Tanning beds emit UVA and UVB rays, which can cause long-term skin damage and can contribute to skin cancer.
Learn more about the FDA’s sun safety suggestions and here.
The American Academy of Dermatology has an entire section devoted to sun protection, including how to prevent skin cancer and how to select sunscreen and read sunscreen labels.
Talk to your physician or dermatologist about sun safety. If you are looking for a physician, call our physician referral line at 410-871-7000 or search through our online physician directory.