The sun’s out! Unfortunately, the UV Rays are out, too.
July is UV Safety Month, so that means it’s time to kick into high gear with your Skin and eye protection. UV radiation, a type of solar radiation, is also given off by artificial tanning beds and lamps. And trust us – you don’t want to be anywhere near it.
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), skin cancer is the single most common cancer worldwide. In 2014, about 76,100 people will be diagnosed with melanoma (the most common cause of skin cancer death).
Over the past 30 years, melanoma rates have been rising. Now, it’s one of the most common causes of cancer death among young adults, particularly young women.
However, did you know that UV rays don’t just damage your skin – they can also damage your eyes?
Check out our UV Safety Month tips to protect your eyes and skin from the sun’s rays this July, and all summer long.
Protecting Your Eyes from UV Rays
The American Optometrists’ Association (AOA) explains that there are 3 types of UV radiation: UV-C (harmlessly absorbed by the ozone layer), UV-A and UV-B. Both UV-A and UV-B rays can have harmful effects on the eyes.
Short-term exposure to UV rays may cause photokeratitis, an “eye sunburn” that may include a gritty sensation, tearing or redness. Photokeratitis is usually temporary.
However, longer-term UV exposure may damage the retina or cause cataracts or macular degeneration.
In order to protect your eyes from UV rays, you need the right type of sunglasses. Here’s what the AOA recommends your sunglasses should do:
- Block 99 to 100% of UV-A and UV-B rays.
- Screen out 75 – 90% of light.
- Have gray lenses for correct color recognition.
- Have impact-resistant lenses (especially if you’re involved in sports or outdoor work).
- Wrap around your head for maximum protection.
Protecting Your Skin from UV Rays
To lessen your chances of skin cancer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you avoid direct sunlight and indoor tanning. If you’re going outdoors in the sun, follow these tips to protect your skin:
- Stay in the shade during midday.
- Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher).
- Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, and after swimming, sweating or toweling.
- Cover up exposed areas of skin with clothing.
- Share your head, neck, ears and face with a wide-brimmed hat.
- Wear wrap-around sunglasses (see above).
Don’t forget – unprotected skin can be damaged by UV rays in as little as 15 minutes. And, you still need protection on cloudy days. The rays, not the heat, are what can cause the damage.
So, have fun, stay safe, and stay out of the sun! For more information on UV safety and tips to protect your skin from the sun’s rays, click here.
What are you doing to protect yourself from UV rays this summer? Talk to us in the comments!
(Image via AustinFG.com.)