July is UV Safety Month

Published: July 1st, 2012

Category: Student Health Care Center Blog

the sunLet’s take time this month to learn about UV safety and how to protect your skin against skin cancer! Did you know that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US? We all know that those Florida summer days can have record breaking highs and the UV index can be in the extreme levels. The sun can already be damaging your skin before you notice it later in the day. You might think that since it’s cloudy out then your skin will be fine but the damage the sun brings isn’t from the temperature but instead from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, and clouds do not block UV rays!

How about a tan?

Most of us, myself included, like to have a tan especially in the summer. But, did you know that tanned skin is damaged skin? Any change in the natural color of your skin after going outside indicates damage from the sun’s UV rays. As most of you know, using a tanning bed is not a solution avoiding UV damage. Tanning beds also damage your skin just like the sun does.

Risk Factors:

Anyone can get skin cancer but some risk factors can put you at a higher risk

  • A lighter natural skin color.
  • A personal history of skin cancer.
  • A family history of melanoma.
  • Exposure to the sun through work and play.
  • A history of sunburns early in life.
  • Skin that burns, freckles, reddens easily, or becomes painful in the sun.
  • Blue or green eyes.
  • Naturally blond or red hair.

Protect yourself:

UV rays are the strongest between 10:00am and 4:00pm so make sure to protect yourself during those hours.

  • Seek shade, especially during midday hours.
  • Cover up with clothing to protect exposed skin.
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears, and neck.
  • Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block as close to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays as possible.
  • Wear sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher with broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection.
  • Avoid tanning beds or sun lamps.

Resources:

You can visit the CDC website for more detailed information on skin cancer, UV safety, and prevention.

http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/