Published: July 7, 2021
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After covering heat safety and water consumption tips in our latest blog, our next summer safety topic is on sun safety. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Too much sun exposure can cause skin cancer and most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. UV rays are an invisible type of radiation that can come from the sun.
The summer can be a great time to go outside but it is important to remember to put on sunscreen. Spending time outside is a great way to be physically active, reduce stress, and get vitamin D. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, which helps your body build strong bones. You can be outside without putting yourself at risk for skin cancer by protecting your skin from the sun.
Below are some helpful tips for protecting yourself from the sun and heat this summer:
- Shade (reduce your risk of sun exposure by staying in the shade under an umbrella, tree, or other shelter)
- Wear protective clothing (long-sleeved shirts, pants, and skirts can protect you from UV rays)
- Hat (hat with a brim all the way around can protect your face, ears, and the back of your neck)
- Sunglasses (can protect eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts)
- Sunscreen (broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF of 15 or higher)
When using sunscreen, it is important to look at the ingredients. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are safe and effective for sunscreen use while aminobenzoic acid (PABA) and trolamine salicylate are proposed as not safe and effective for sunscreen use.
Check out CATCH.ORG for a Sun Safety Curriculum created and developed by The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and disseminated by CATCH® Global Foundation. This evidence-based curriculum educates children, parents, and teachers about sun protection and promotes sun safety behaviors in an effort to reduce children's lifetime risk of developing skin cancer. Ray and the Sunbeatables™, a Sun Safety Curriculum, is now entirely available online for free.