July is National UV Safety Awareness Month

While we all eagerly anticipate and love our summers in Western New York, it is important to remember what all that sunshine can do. Which is why National UV Awareness Month exists!

A reminder to us all of the dangers of the sun’s rays, National UV Awareness Month also offers us dermatologists a great opportunity to remind our patients of the importance of sunscreen and sun safety measures.

UV Rays: What Are They?

Ultraviolet light from the sun includes both UVA and UVB rays.

  • UVA rays have longer wavelengths and penetrate deeper into the skin.
  • UVB rays have shorter wavelengths and reach the outer layer of skin.

Both types are harmful to skin and lead to premature aging, immunosuppression, and skin cancer.

How Can You Prevent UV Damage?

Summers are all too short in our area, and we as dermatologists are not trying to get everyone to stay indoors the whole time. However, we do like to remind our patients how important it is to be sun safe.

  • Try and wear a wide brimmed hat that shades the face and protects the ears.
  • Use sunglasses to protect the eyes from the damaging UV rays and also to protect the skin around the eyes, since sunscreen use in these areas is impractical.
  • Use sunscreen that is at least SPF 30 and make sure you reapply every two hours if you are going to be outside for a while (even on cloudy and overcast days).

Being mindful of sun and UV protection can keep your skin and eyes healthy for the long run and prevent skin cancer. Remember, tanning has a stronger association with causing skin cancer than smoking does with causing lung cancer.

Go out and enjoy the summer season, but be sun safe and get an annual skin check. This way, if there ever is a suspicious lesion, it is detected early and treatment is much simpler and more successful.