Here Comes the Sun - PIH Health

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Published on May 21, 2015

Here Comes the Sun

Person putting on sunscreen

Summer is almost here, and it’s time for a friendly reminder to keep yourself safe from the harmful rays of the sun. Although protection from ultraviolet (UV) radiation is important all year round, the late spring and summer is when we typically spend lots of time outdoors, whether it’s the beach, a park or a summer league softball game.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, and unlike almost every other form of cancer, the rates are actually climbing. The best way to protect yourself is to stay out of the sun as much as possible.

Overexposure to UV rays can happen any time the sun is out, but the hours between 10 am and 4 pm Daylight Saving Time are the most hazardous1. And since UV rays reflect off of surfaces like water and sand, it’s important to be extra-vigilant at the beach. “Even if the sky is cloudy or hazy, the UV rays from the sun can still reach you. So don’t neglect skin protection, even during June Gloom,” said Rachael L. Moore MD, dermatologist at PIH Health.

Here are some things you can do to protect yourself from the sun:

  • Use a broad spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 that provides both UVA and UVB protection.
  • Wear sunglasses. In addition to protecting the thin, tender skin around your eyes from sun exposure, blocking harmful UV rays from hitting your eyes can reduce the risk of cataracts.
  • Stay in the shade. It doesn’t matter if it’s a tree, an umbrella or pop-up shelter, spend as much time out of the direct rays of the sun as possible.
  • Wear clothing that shades or covers your skin. This means long sleeve shirts and long pants. If that’s not practical, at least try to keep a tee shirt or cover-up on. And don’t forget your hat! Hats with a brim all the way around (i.e., not baseball caps) can shade your face, ears and the back of your neck.
  • Stay away from tanning beds. People may have told you indoor tanning is safe, but the truth is, indoor tanning can damage your skin and eyes as much as sun exposure.

Back to sunscreen for a minute. Realize that it wears off. In fact, it usually doesn’t protect your skin for more than a couple hours. Add swimming, sweating and toweling off, and it’s important to reapply regularly. Even if it says it’s waterproof.

Although skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnoses in the United States, it’s also one of the most preventable. This year, it’s estimated that 73,870 people will be diagnosed with melanoma - the most dangerous type of skin cancer - and that more than 9,940 of those patients will die from it.2 Protect your skin, protect yourself, protect your health.


The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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