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Be Sun Safe

While spending time outdoors is a great way to be physically active, reduce stress, and soak up some vitamin D, it is also important to protect your skin from the sun.

Protection from the sun’s UV rays is important year round — whether it is sunny or not. UV rays can reflect off of surfaces like water, cement, sand, and snow.

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Shade is most effective in reducing harmful UV exposure. When possible, wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, and a hat. To shade your face, ears, and the back of your neck, look for wide-brimmed hats made from tightly woven fabrics, such as canvas.

Using a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher is important but be sure that it is a broad-spectrum sunscreen — meaning that it will protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.

Top risk factors for sunburn and other harmful effects of UV radiation include:

  • Pale skin
  • Blond, red, or light brown hair
  • Family history of skin cancer
  • Been treated for skin cancer

 

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SUNBURNS

A sunburn is an inflammatory reaction of the skin’s outermost layers due to UV radiation. Prolonged exposure causes skin cells to become red, swollen, and painful — resulting in a sunburn.

Once your skin starts to heal, it may begin to peel. This is a sign that your body is trying to rid itself of damaged cells. You should never try to peel the skin yourself — let it come off naturally.

 

TREATING A SUNBURN

  • Quickly cool down. Cool your skin with water or a cold compress.
  • Moisturize while skin is damp. Use a moisturizing lotion. Calm redness and swelling with an over-the-counter cortizone cream. Aloe vera may also soothe mild burns. 
  • If safe to do so, take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin to help with discomfort and inflammation.
  • Hydrate. While your skin is healing, be sure to replenish your system with electrolytes.
  • See a doctor if you have severe blistering, a fever with chills, and/or become lightheaded or confused.

 

FAST FACTS

  • Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S. 
  • Basal cell and squamous cell cancers are the two most common types of skin cancer. They begin in the basal and squamous layers of the epidermis. Both can usually be cured, but they can be disfiguring and expensive to treat.
  • Every year about 4.3 million people in the U.S. are treated for basal cell and squamous cell skin cancer.
  • Melanoma, the third most common type of skin cancer, begins in the melanocytes. Melanoma causes the most deaths because of its tendency to spread to other parts of the body, including vital organs.
  • The CDC anticipated that there would be 106,110 new cases of skin melanomas and 7,180 deaths in 2021.
  • In 2018, there were an estimated 1.3 million people living with melanoma of the skin in the U.S.

Sources: 
Sun Safety. https://bit.ly/3Cz0rbZ
Tips for Staying Safe in the Sun. https://bit.ly/3As7TDU
Spend Time in the Sun and Stay Sun Safe. https://bit.ly/3fLCHHM
Sunburn & Your Skin. https://bit.ly/3s2LMB2
What is Skin Cancer? https://bit.ly/3yUX0Kp

 

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