With long, sunny days, it’s no surprise July is National UV Safety Month.
UV (Ultraviolet) rays from the sun are one of the causes of skin cancer because the UV rays actually damage the DNA in skin cells. These rays can also damage the sensitive tissues of the eyes.
There are 3 main types of UV rays: UVA, UVB, and UVC.
UVA rays cause long-term damage (think wrinkles and skin texture changes). These are the type of rays used in tanning beds and are associated with skin cancer.
UVB rays cause direct damage to the skin through sunburns. These rays have more energy than UVA rays and are also associated with skin cancer.
UVC rays are less powerful and usually found in man-made sources. These are not typically associated with skin cancer.
The best method to avoid potentially dangerous UV rays is prevention. Wearing hats, long sleeves and pants, sunglasses, staying in the shade and sunscreen are all recommended. There are even some clothes that are made with materials that block UV rays. Try to avoid being in direct sunlight between 10:00 am – 4:00 pm when the sun is strongest.
For sunscreen, try to get one that says “Broad Spectrum”. It will protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Anything below SPF 15 will not actually be effective in protecting your skin. Be sure to get a water resistant one if you will be out in the water or working hard and sweating. Reapply as the packaging states.