10 Jul

Protecting Your Skin this Summer

Protecting Your Skin this Summer

Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a major risk factor for most skin cancers. Sunlight is the main source of UV rays. Other sources include tanning lamps and beds. People who get a lot of UV exposure from these sources are at greater risk for skin cancer.


The strength of the UV rays depends on a number of factors, such as:

  • Time of day: UV rays are strongest between 10 am and 4 pm.
  • Season of the year: UV rays are stronger during spring and summer months.
  • Distance from the equator (latitude): UV exposure goes down as you get further from the equator.
  • Altitude: More UV rays reach the ground at higher elevations.
  • Reflection off surfaces: UV rays can bounce off surfaces like water, sand, snow, pavement, or grass, leading to an increase in UV exposure.


UV Index Number

Exposure Level

0 to 2


3 to 4


5 to 6


7 to 9



Very high








The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Weather Service (NWS) have developed an Ultraviolet (UV) Index to describe the day's likely levels of exposure to UV rays. While you should always protect your skin, take special care to adopt safe-guards when the UV Index predicts exposure levels of moderate or higher.


Protect yourself from the sun:

  • Seek shade but remember that the sun’s rays can bounce off surfaces, so always make sure sun screen is applied even when you are under cover of shade.
  • Wear protective clothing, like long-sleeved shirts and long pants and skirts, and a hat. Clothes made from tightly woven fabric offer the best protection. Look for clothes marked with UPF50+ protection.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts. They also protect the tender skin around your eyes. Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays offer the best protection.
  • Put on broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15 before you go outside, even on slightly cloudy or cool days. Don’t forget to put a thick layer on all parts of exposed skin. Sunscreen works best when combined with other measures to prevent UV damage.


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