Protection from ultraviolet radiation is important all year, but the summer sun requires additional precautions.
Sun protection is important because overexposure to UV light can cause skin cancer—the most common form of cancer in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The invisible radiation from the sun, tanning beds and sunlamps can damage skins cells in as little as 15 minutes. Other harmful effects from exposure to UV rays include sunburn, premature aging of the skin and eye conditions such as cataracts.
While it may be easy to remember to take protective measures when the sun is out, remember that UV rays shine through even on cloudy days.
Protect your skin this summer with these tips from the CDC:
- Stay in the shade, especially during the middle of the day.
- Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs. Keep in mind that clothes made with tightly woven fabrics offer the best protection, and getting fabric wet diminishes its protective capacity.
- Wear a hat, choosing one with a wide brim to shade your face, ears and neck. A baseball cap may only shade part of your face, leaving your ears and neck at risk.
- Wear sunglasses with lenses that block harmful rays. Most sunglasses in the U.S., even inexpensive ones, block most UV rays and protect the eyes themselves, as well as the tender skin around the eyes.
- Use sunblock with an SPF, or sun protection factor, of at least 15. Reapply if you’re out in the sun for more than two hours and after swimming, sweating or drying off with a towel.
- Avoid indoor tanning, which exposes users to UV radiation.