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  Sun Tan

Fast & Easy Info

  • Skin cancer is on the rise. Every year, more than 800,000 Americans are affected by basal cell skin cancer alone.
  • Exposure to the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun appear to be the biggest cause of skin cancer and a primary factor in the development of lip cancer. UVA is the most abundant source of solar radiation; it penetrates beyond the top layer of human skin. UVB also contributes to skin cancer.
  • The hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. during daylight savings time ( 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. during standard time) are the most hazardous for UV exposure in the continental United States . UV radiation is the greatest during the late spring and early summer in North America .
  • UV rays reach you on cloudy and hazy days, as well as on bright and sunny days. UV rays will also reflect off any surface like water, cement, sand, and snow.
  • Excessive and unprotected exposure to the sun can result in premature aging and undesirable changes in skin texture. Such exposure has also been associated with melanoma, one of the most serious and deadly forms of skin cancer.
  • UV rays also have been found to be associated with various eye conditions, such as cataracts.

Dollars & Sense Options

  • When possible, avoid outdoor activities during midday , when the sun's rays are strongest. This usually means the hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as a wide-brimmed hat, long-sleeved shirt, and long pants.
  • To protect your eyes, wear wraparound sunglasses that provide 100 percent UV ray protection.
  • Always wear a broad-spectrum (protection against both UVA and UVB rays) sunscreen and lipscreen with at least SPF 15.
  • Check the sunscreen's expiration date. Sunscreen generally has a shelf life of no longer than three years. Exposure to extreme temperatures can reduce a sunscreen's shelf life.
  • Consider self-tanning lotions and sprays. However, be careful not to burn in the sun, as these only contain an SPF of 4. Sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 must be used and reapplied every two hours.
  • Beach umbrellas and other kinds of shade help, but do not provide complete protection. UV rays can still bounce off sand, water, and porch decks. It is still important to use sunscreen when outside.
  • Avoid tanning beds. Artificial UV light from tanning beds can cause the same skin damage as sun light.

For Your Shopping List:

Solarweave® is a revolutionary fabric specially manufactured to block more than 97.5% of all UVA and UVB radiation. Available in bathing suit cover-ups, long-sleeve shirts, t-shirts, pants, and hats.

All clothing manufactured by Coolibar is packaged with a hang tag that includes an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (or "UPF") rating. Some clothes claim to block 98% UV. Available in tunics blouses, hoodies, pants, and cover-ups

You can find a complete list of recommended sunblock lotions and sprays at Skin Deep.

In My House

My family is really susceptible to skin cancer. My father's had it, my brother's had it, and I've had it - several times. Needless to say, I'm a borderline fanatic when it comes to wearing sunscreen. My daily face lotion contains SPF15, and if I'm at the beach I always use a sunscreen of at least SPF 45. We all wear hats and sunglasses in the sun, and I wear long sleeve cover-ups and pants. It's easy enough to use a little makeup if I feel I'm looking pale. I have to admit, it took a while to get over wanting to get a "summer tan." But there's nothing like a few bouts of skin cancer to put vanity into perspective.

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What Else?

  • Knowing you need to protect yourself from the harmful rays of the sun should be common sense by now. But if you still need more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control " Choose Your Cover" campaign site.

  • The Skin Cancer Foundation describes the characteristics of basal cell skin cancer, the most common form of cancer associated with sun exposure; offers tips for self-examination; and provides a list of approved sun screens.

  • Uncertain about what SPF rating you should aim for in your sun screen? Follow these suggestions from the National Women's Health Resource Center

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