Article #21: Sun Safety
Did You Know?
The National Weather Service has come up with a way to give us an idea of how much UV radiation to expect in any given area.
What does UV stand for?
a. Ultra Violent
c. University of Virginia
d. Under Valencia
There are two types of Ultraviolet rays that reach the Earth’s surface – UVA and UVB. UVB rays are thought to be more likely to cause sunburn, but UVA rays, are said to pass deeper into your skin. Both are linked as causes of different types of skin cancer, including Malignant Melanoma. Always choose a sunscreen made to block or scatter both kinds of UV rays. (Source: http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/glossary=ultravioletrays
The Sun. When it’s out, it’s almost begging you to come outside. But, like with most everything, too much of a good thing = not so good. Overexposure to the Sun’s UV rays can leave you open to certain types of skin cancer. Cases of the most dangerous type of skin cancer, Malignant Melanoma, more than doubled between 1973 and 1999. There are factors, like genetics (if it runs in your family), and the fairness of your skin (the fairer you are, the less sun you can take) that may put you more at risk. Check in with your family doctor, or dermatologist, and discuss your individual needs.
With all the things you have to sweat growing up, just the simple joy of being outside shouldn’t be cause to worry. Not if you just take a few simple steps to protect your skin from harm.
1. Rub It In:
Sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or above should be part of your routine. Find one that you like and that you can get in small enough packages to take along with you in your backpack. Even with waterproof varieties, get in the groove of applying and reapplying it. If your friends get caught outside without it, and they’ll be grateful you’re so well prepared.
2. Cover Two:
There are two main areas to cover. Your head/face and your body. A hat with a wide-enough brim is a good thing to have handy. Ones that you can crush in a locker or backpack are a nice option. A good pair of sunglasses (polarized is best but can be expensive) will further protect sensitive skin around the eyes and guard against development of cataracts in your eyes. For everything else, clothing is the thing. Darker colors shield more UV rays than lighter. Long sleeve T’s, or light hoodies are good to have during warmer months. They can always be tied around your waist or thrown over a chair when you get inside. It’s about layering. Always have at least two layers handy. Better to shed one, and have it, than to be overexposed and running for shade.
3. Made in The Shade:
If you’re at the park, consider setting up under a tree. At a café, stay under an awning. At the beach? Bring a sturdy umbrella, and you’ll probably find yourself with company right beneath it. Not a bad spot at all.
4. Think Twice About a Tan:
Tans look so cool, especially in the summer, but real ones from tanning beds or old-fashioned sunshine are looking for skin trouble. The only healthy tan is a sprayed on tan! By the way, did you know that dark-skinned people are also at risk for skin cancer, especially on the hands and feet?
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