May is Skin Cancer Awareness month and with another Texas summer looming, we want to make sure you know how to properly protect you and your family from harmful UV rays.
The Skin Cancer Foundation says about 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers and about 86 percent of melanomas are associated with exposure to UV radiation from the sun. Some important prevention guidelines include:
- Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4PM.
- Don’t get sunburned.
- Avoid UV tanning beds.
- Cover up with clothing
- Use broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) with an SPF of 15 or higher. For extended outdoor activity, use water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Apply 2 tablespoons of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every 2 hours or after swimming or excessive sweating.
- Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
- Examine your skin monthly
What is a melanoma?
Melanoma is usually, but not always, a cancer of the skin. It begins as melanocytes, which form moles. Having moles can be a risk factor for melanoma, but it’s important to remember that most moles do not become melanoma. Nearly 90% of all melanoma cases can be linked to exposure to UV rays. (melanoma.org)
Are sunglasses a necessary protection against the sun?
Yes, you should wear sunglasses year-round whenever you are out in the sun. Sunglasses should block 99-100 percent of both UVA and UVB light. Over time, the sun’s rays can seriously damage the eyes and surrounding skin, leading to vision loss and conditions from cataracts to eye and eyelid cancers. (skin cancer.org)
Why do I need to apply sunscreen 30-minutes before going outside?
Yes. By applying one half hour before going outside, you are giving you skin time to absorb the sunscreen. (skin cancer.org)
Do I need to throw away last year’s left-over sunscreen?
No, shelf life is typically two to three years. Most sunscreens have an expiration date stamped on the container. Always remember to store your sunscreen in a cool place, since heat can gradually break it down. (skin cancer.org)