UV Rays

Why you should limit your sun exposure

You don’t have to avoid the sun completely. Physical activity is important for good health. Some people think about sun protection only when they spend the day at the beach, or at pool. Sun exposure adds up day after day, and it happens every time you are in the sun. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 3.5 million skin cancers in over two million people are diagnosed annually. Over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime. About 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common form of skin cancer. An estimated 700,000 cases of SCC are diagnosed each year in the US.

How do I protect myself from UV rays?

Simply staying in the shade is one of the best ways to limit your UV exposure

  • Slip on a shirt.
  • Slop on sunscreen.
  • Wear a hat.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect the eyes and skin around them.

Seek shade

Limit your exposure to UV light by avoiding direct sunlight too long. This is particularly important between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm.

Melanoma skin cancer

Melanoma is the fifth most common cancer for males and seventh most common for females. Regular daily use of an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen reduces the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by 40 percent and the risk of developing melanoma by 50 percent. Women aged 39 and under have a higher probability of developing melanoma than any other cancer except breast cancer. Adults over age 40, especially men, have the highest annual exposure to UV.

Tanning

Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is a proven human carcinogen.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer, an affiliate of the World Health Organization, includes ultraviolet (UV) tanning devices in its Group 1, a list of the most dangerous cancer-causing substances. Group 1 also includes agents such as plutonium, cigarettes, and solar UV radiation. Indoor tanners have a 69 percent increased risk of early-onset basal cell carcinoma. Just one indoor tanning session increases users’ chances of developing melanoma by 20 percent, and each additional session during the same year boosts the risk almost another two percent.

Read the labels

When choosing a sunscreen product, be sure to read the label. Sunscreens with broad spectrum protection (against both UVA and UVB rays) and with sun protection factor (SPF) values of 30 or higher are recommended.

Sun protection factor (SPF): The SPF number is the level of protection the sunscreen provides against UVB rays, which are the main cause of sunburn. A higher SPF number means more UVB protection

Reference:

http://www.who.int/uv/publications/artificial-tanning-devices/en/

http://www.who.int/uv/sun_protection/en/