You may feel healthier with a bit of a tan, but your skin does not appreciate it. The sunlight that warms our bones and makes flowers grow contains ultraviolet (UV) radiation that can damage the skin.
Exposure to UV radiation from sunlight can lead to:
To help protect your skin when you are in the sun, follow these simple tips:
Wear Sun-Protective Clothing
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Weather Service put out the UV Index. This is a daily report on the UV radiation levels in different areas in the country. Here is how to interpret the number:
American Academy of Dermatology
The Skin Cancer Foundation
Canadian Dermatology Association
Canadian Cancer Society
Alberta Provincial Cutaneous Tumour Team. Prevention of skin cancer. Edmonton (Alberta): CancerControl Alberta; 2013 Feb. 27 p. (Clinical practice guideline; no. CU-014). Available at: http://www.guideline.gov/content.aspx?id=48130#Section420. Accessed October 20, 2014.
Early detection and self exams. Skin Cancer Foundation website. Available at: http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/early-detection. Accessed March 6, 2014.
Get in on the trend. Skin Cancer Foundation website. Available at: http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sun-protection/clothing/get-in-on-the-trend. Accessed March 6, 2014.
Melanoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 16, 2014. Accessed March 6, 2014.
Skin cancer: prevention. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/skin-cancer/prevention.html. Updated February 2011. Accessed March 6, 2014.
Preventing skin cancer. Skin Cancer Foundation website. Available at: http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sun-protection/prevention-guidelines. Accessed March 6, 2014.
Prevention guidelines. Skin Cancer Foundation website. Available at: http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sun-protection/prevention-guidelines. Accessed March 6, 2014.
Sunscreen FAQs. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: https://www.aad.org/media-resources/stats-and-facts/prevention-and-care/sunscreens. Accessed October 20, 2014.
UV index scale. United States Environmental Protection Agency website. Available at: http://www2.epa.gov/sunwise/uv-index-scale. Accessed March 6, 2014.
Last reviewed March 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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