According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, sunburns are a significant risk factor for skin cancer. Most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. UV rays are an invisible kind of radiation that comes from the sun, tanning beds, and sunlamps. UV rays can damage skin cells. Protection from UV rays is important all year, not just during the summer.
Because of these findings, it is very important to take sun safety seriously on the island. Here are some simple steps to help reduce your risk of getting skin cancer:
- Make sure to use sunscreen! Apply before you go to the beach or any other outdoor activity and reapply throughout the day. It is recommended to use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Cover up with hats, sunglasses, towels, blankets, and use umbrellas when exposed to sun.
- Between the hours of 10am and 4pm, when the UV rays are usually the strongest, go to shaded areas when possible.
- Avoid getting burns, apply sunscreen regularly when outside.
- Even on cloudy days, apply the proper amount of sunscreen.
Sun burns are caused by exposure UV rays that are present in sunlight. It is very important to prevent overexposure to both sunlight and sunburns. This is the best way to reduce your risk of developing skin cancer. Children are especially susceptible to overexposure, so make sure to take extra precaution in protecting them from sun burns.
An 'SOS' can save your skin. Use this acronym to help prevent skin cancer:
S- SPF. Always wear sunscreen with SPF 30+ when outdoors, even if it’s cloudy.
O- Outfit. Wear clothing that protects you from the sun such as hats, sunglasses, shirts, and coverups.
S- Shade. Seek shade. Pack an umbrella!
Some common questions that arise...
What is UV and how can I monitor the rays I am getting?
-UV is ultraviolet radiation that comes with exposure to the sun. To monitor the UV levels, which are ranked on a scale from 1-10 with 10 being the highest UV, you can check weather reports using weather apps and the internet. The UV changes throughout the day so make sure to check often, especially before going outdoors!
What sunscreen should I use and how often should I apply it?
-It is important to use a sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher, and you should reapply about every 2 hours. However, these numbers change depending if you are swimming, sweating, etc. In these cases you should reapply more often than every 2 hours.
I noticed some discoloration on one of my freckles that I've never seen before, what do I do?
-If you notice changes in moles or freckles, don't panic. Make an appointment with a dermatologist to get it checked out!
To learn more about sun safety, visit the CDC website.