Sun SafetyStay Well
Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the U.S., and in Utah. It is estimated that 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.
Utah has the highest incidence of melanoma in the country, and the rates continue to rise. It is estimated that 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers and 65 percent of melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. The risk for melanoma is greatly increased by tanning, from either outside UV exposure or by using indoor sunlamps and tanning beds.
Only 5 sunburns as a child significantly increases your risk of melanoma.
Check Your Health encourages you to pack 6 things in your bag to keep you sun safe
- Sunscreen - Choose a water-resistant, broad spectrum sunscreen that is 30 SPF or higher. Broad spectrum means it protects you from both UVA and UVB rays. A rule of thumb for applying/reapplying sunscreen: 2 tablespoons every two hours.
- Sunscreen for your lips- Don’t forget your lips! You can easily find moisturizing lip balm that contains UV protection.
- Sunglasses with UV protection- Make sure that you’re always wearing sunglasses and that your sunglasses contain UV protection. Sun damage actually affects your eyes as well as your skin.
- A hat that covers your ears- If you wear a hat that covers your ears along with sunscreen, you are protecting the most exposed areas of your body from damage from harmful UV rays.
- Sunsafe clothing- Every sports store or outdoor retailer sells a variety of lightweight clothing with built in UV protection.
- Bring Your Own Shade- Even when you are wearing sunscreen, it is best to stay in the shade between the hours of 10 am to 4 pm. If you make it a habit to always carry a big umbrella or shade structure with you, or keep it in your car, you always have your own shade.
What is UVA/UVB?
UVA rays account for 95 percent of the radiation that reaches the Earth’s surface. You are exposed to UVA rays all of the time. UVA rays can penetrate deeply, through clouds or glass. UVA rays play a major part in skin aging and wrinkling. Most tanning beds contain UVA rays. UVB rays are the ones responsible for the redding the occurs with a sunburn. They damage the surface of your skin. The intensity of UVB rays varies by season and time of day. In most places, UVB rays are strongest between 10 am and 4 pm.