Summer is almost here! I bet you're finally excited for warmer weather, the beach, and many more days to play outside in the sun. However, with sunnier weather comes increased skin cancer risks. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, nearly five million people are treated for skin cancer every year. That can mean one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of their lifetime. This summer, we are passing out UV-sensing bracelets to schools and clinics to remind people protect themselves from the sun by smearing some sunscreen.

In the meantime, here are some frequently asked questions on why it's important to protect yourselves from UV light and why it's important to use sunscreen.


Q: So, what exactly are UV lights?

UV lights are harmful rays that play a role in skin cancer, aging, and damaging your skin. As you can see on the chart, you cannot see UV lights because it is beyond the visible light spectrum. UV radiation is considered the main cause of nonmelanoma skin cancer. 

Q: Can you get skin cancer from tanning booths?

Yes, UV A light is the dominant tanning ray. High pressure sunlamps found in tanning salons can emit 12 times as much UVA as the sun! Exposure to tanning beds in youth can increase your melanoma risks to 75 percent. 

Q: What is the easiest thing to do to protect my skin?

Avoid the sun between 10am and 2pm between April and October. UV rays are strongest between these times. 

Q: What kind of sunscreen should I buy?

SPF 15-50 is totally acceptable. When you see “broad spectrum” on your sunscreen lotion label, it means you will be protected from UVA and UVB rays. Avoid sunscreen sprays?

Q: How often should I put on sunscreen?

Every 2 hours. 

Q: My skin is not pale, do I still need to wear sunscreen?

Yes. For example, last year, NPR reported that Hispanic Americans are more likely to be diagnosed with late stage skin cancer partially because of people's misconception on darker skin and skin cancer risks. The Skin Cancer Foundation has an excellent explanation on skin cancer and skin color. 

Q: What does my skin look like when it’s exposed to ultraviolet lights?


This video shows people’s reactions when they see what their skin actually look like under ultraviolet light. 




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