August is Summer Sun Safety Month, and while summer may be ending UV radiation from the sun can damage your skin beyond the summer months and even when the sun is hiding behind clouds. It is important to know some of the ways you can protect yourself and your family from the harmful effects of ultraviolet, or UV, radiation from sunlight.
Children are especially vulnerable because they tend to spend more time outdoors and can burn easily. Skin cancer develops primarily on areas that are easily exposed to skin like the face, lips, ears, arms, scalp, hands and legs. According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer.
While exercising and spending time outdoors are important for your health, staying protected from the sun will allow you and your family to do so safely.
Here are four ways you can protect yourself and your family from UV radiation damage:
Time of day
Avoid sun exposure in the middle of the day. The UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and remember that while cloud offer a little protection, UV rays can bounce off surfaces like water, sand, snow or pavement, and that increases UV exposure.
Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor, or SPF, of at least 30, even on cloudy days. Apply sunscreen generously and reapply every two hours, especially in the more exposed areas mentioned above.
UV radiation also can burn your eyes. Sunburned eyes can feel painful or gritty. Too much UV light can damage the retina, lens and cornea. Be sure to look for sunglasses that block both types of UV radiation — UVA and UVB rays.
Sunscreens don’t provide complete protection from UV rays. You also should protect your skin with dark, tightly woven clothing that covers your arms and legs, and a broad-brimmed hat that provides more protection than a baseball cap or visor.