July is recognized as UV Safety Awareness Month and serves as a reminder that exposure to ultraviolet rays is the most important preventable risk factor for skin cancer.
Read the information on this Johns Hopkins Medicine website or below on preventing skin cancer.
For questions regarding sun safety and other cancer risk reduction strategies, contact the Work Stride: Managing Cancer at Work oncology nurse navigator at 844-446-6229 or email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a free service for Johns Hopkins employees.
Preventing skin cancer
Exposure to ultraviolet rays is the most important preventable risk factor for skin cancer. UV rays come not only from the sun but from sunlamps and tanning beds. There are two types of UV rays that can reach and damage your skin: UVA and UVB.
Here's how you can help reduce your risk of skin cancer:
- Minimize your exposure to the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., the hours when UV rays are strongest.
- Apply a generous amount of sunscreen before you go outside. Use a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor, or SPF, of at least 30. Broad-spectrum means the sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Apply it to all areas of your body that will be exposed to the sun.
- Reapply sunscreen every two hours, even on cloudy days. Reapply after swimming or sweating.
- Wear clothing that covers your body and shades your face. Wear a long-sleeved shirt, pants, and a wide-brimmed hat. Hats should provide shade for the face, ears, and back of the neck.
- Wear sunglasses with a UV coating (the label should say 100% UVA/UVB protection). This will reduce the amount of UV rays that reach the eye and protect your eyelids and the eye itself.
- Don't use sunlamps or tanning beds.
Protecting children from the sun
Skin damage from UV rays early in life can lead to skin cancer later in life. Keep children from too much sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., the hours when UV rays are strongest. Apply a generous amount of sunscreen often to children 6 months and older. Keep babies younger than 6 months out of direct sunlight. Dress your baby in hats and lightweight clothing that covers most of the skin. The American Academy of Pediatrics approves using sunscreen on babies younger than 6 months if clothing and shade don't provide enough cover. Apply a small amount of sunscreen. Use it only on your baby's exposed areas such as the face and back of the hands.
Take care around sand and snow
Sand and water reflect UV rays, even under a beach umbrella. If you're on the beach, cover up and use sunscreen. Snow is also good at reflecting UV rays. Cover up and wear sunscreen while outside in snowy areas.