Lengthened exposure to UV rays can cause most skin cancers, including melanoma, basal cell, and squamous cell cancers. While skin cancer is one of the more preventable forms of the disease, it is on the rise in the U.S. The National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program projects there will be nearly 100,000 new cases of skin melanomas and over 7,600 deaths in 2022 alone, marking a steady rise over the past 30 years.
People who get too much exposure to UV rays can also develop a weakened immune system. Vaccines will start to be less effective in those people and they can experience a harder time fighting off infections. With a weaker system, problems such as reactivation of herpes can even get triggered by the sun or other UV ray sources.
Sunlight reflecting off sand, water, or even snow, further increases exposure to UV radiation and increases the risk of developing eye problems, such as blindness. People with greater exposure to UV rays can go through premature aging with leathery skin, liver spots, wrinkles, and solar elastosis, a degenerative condition of elastic tissue in the dermis due to prolonged sun exposure. A common ailment comes in the form of sunburn that can come directly from the sun or a tanning bed.
Easy Sun Care Tips
The summer months are among the best times to be outside and in the sun. Sporting events, picnics, and backyard barbecues are just a few of the cherished traditions many hold near and dear. Here are 10 tips to ensure these activities are enjoyed safely and responsibly:
1. Limit time in the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when its rays are most intense.
2. Wear clothing to cover skin exposed to the sun, such as long-sleeve shirts, pants, sunglasses, and broad-brim hats.
3. Use broad-spectrum sunscreens with an SPF value of 15 or higher regularly and as directed. (Broad-spectrum sunscreens offer protection against both UVA and UVB rays, two types of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.)
4. Read the label to ensure proper use of sunscreen.
5. Apply sunscreen liberally to all uncovered skin, especially the nose, ears, neck, hands, feet, and lips.
6. Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours. Apply more often if swimming or sweating.
7. Choose sunglasses with a UV400 rating or “100% UV protection.” These sunglasses block more than 99% of UVA and UVB radiation.
8, Consider large, wraparound-style frames, which may provide more UV protection because they cover the entire eye socket.
9. If you don’t have much hair, apply sunscreen to the top of your head or wear a hat.
10. Be sure to take these precautions on cloudy days. Even on overcast days, up to 80% of the sun’s UV rays can get through the clouds.