July is UV Safety Awareness Month


UV Safety Awareness Month

It’s summertime, and you’re probably ready to get outside and soak up the sun – but wait! Before you start catching rays by the pool or taking part in other outdoor activities, make sure you know how to protect yourself from harmful UV light.

Why is it important to avoid UV rays? Prolonged and/or repeated UV exposure can lead to increased chances of developing cancer, especially skin cancer. Luckily, it’s easy to take precautions that won’t put a damper on your day.

Tip #1: Seek shade.

Keeping to shady areas or staying indoors when the UV light is the strongest (about 10am-2pm, depending on the area) can help you avoid the strongest sun. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends seeking shade if your shadow is shorter than you.

Tip #2: Wear protective clothing.

Protecting your skin from UV rays by wearing the right clothing can be an effective measure. Wear sunglasses, long sleeves and pants, and a hat with a wide brim for the best protection.

You can also find clothing specially designed for sun protection, which will list an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) number. There are lightweight and breathable options that still offer UV protection so you can continue your outdoor activities without overheating.

Tip #3: Apply sunscreen.

Look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and make sure to apply it to all areas that are not protected by clothing. If you’re taking part in water activities, make sure to look for a water-resistant variety. Whether you’re sweating or swimming, make sure to reapply according to the directions for maximum effectiveness.

Tip #4: Avoid tanning beds.

Indoor tanning is not safer than the sun. In fact, it can greatly increase your risk of developing the two most common types of skin cancer. Getting a “base tan” will not prevent sunburn, and it can cause damage to deeper levels of skin. Obtaining sufficient vitamin D from tanning beds is not possible either – so protect your skin instead!

Be Smart About UV!

Taking steps to protect your skin include seeking shade, wearing clothes that offer UV protection, applying (and reapplying) sunscreen, and avoiding tanning beds. Together, these measures can help you protect your skin so you can enjoy your summer (and beyond).

Think you’re prepared? Test your sun safety IQ with this quiz from the American Cancer Society to see if you’re ready for fun in the sun.

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