Did you know there are 3 main types of UV Rays?
Here is a quick overview:
UVA – these rays age skin cells and can damage the skin’s DNA. Basically UVA rays cause wrinkles and only a small role in some skin cancer incidences.
UVB – these rays will cause the most damage. UVB rays cause that dreaded sunburn and in turn, are responsible for causing the most skin cancer incidences reported.
UVC – these have the strongest energy by far over UVA/UVB rays however they cannot get through into our atmosphere – so they have very limited roles in skin cancer incidences.
Here are a few handy tips
UV Rays are strongest between the hours of 12 pm and 3 pm. Re-applying sunscreen, seeking shade or layering up with clothing and wide-brimmed hats is a good idea if you are outside.
Summer (and now Spring) show higher UV Ray readings than Autumn and Winter…although higher altitudes show stronger UV Ray readings, so it’s likely that you will be exposed to higher UV Rays.
If you think you are safe from UV Rays because it’s cloudy or indoors – think again! UV Rays filter through the clouds, home and car windows and are still able to infiltrate our skin and cause damage.
In our mind’s, we are going “if there’s no sunshine there are no UV Rays” and this is the biggest falsehood. This is why we should always be armed with our “sun prevention tools” e.g. sunscreen, long sleeve clothing, hats, etc., whenever possible.
Prevention & Awareness Saves Lives
If caught early while it’s still in the skin, skin cancer is usually curable, typically able to be treated with a simple surgery. However, once it has spread throughout the body, treatment becomes much more difficult. Practicing the proper sun safety and prevention methods can help prepare for if skin cancer does form in the first place or can help you detect it in the earlier stages.
What are the proper precautions?
Basic sun protection means:
Protective clothing. Did you know that many clothing material do not fully protect you from UVA and UVB rays? Make sure to wear UV protective clothing like wide-brimmed hats and covered shoes.
Staying out of the sun, especially during the middle part of the day when the sun is at its hottest.
Applying sunscreen at least every 2 hours, especially if you are sweating or swimming.
Apply sunscreen before you need it rather than when you are already out in the sun.
Take the time to document and keep track of moles you already have and report any new moles – especially if you notice changes such as itchiness, weeping, crustiness or changes in shape or size.
If we just remember a few basic rules – we can limit UV Ray overexposure but also get the amount of sunshine that our bodies require. Spending time in the sun is inevitable but with proper sun safety and prevention methods, we can make sure we’re fully equipped for skin cancer.