UV Safety Awareness Month: Protecting the skin from harmful sun side effects

The month serves to remind us to protect our skin, eyes from UV rays.
It might be time to revisit our skincare habits and make sure our skin is getting the care and...
It might be time to revisit our skincare habits and make sure our skin is getting the care and protection it needs to be ready for the sun’s rays.(WSAW)
Published: Jul. 7, 2022 at 7:29 AM EDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - July is UV Safety Awareness Month to remind us all how important it is to protect our skin and eyes from UV rays’ side effects. UV rays are stronger during the spring and summer months, the months most people tend to spend more time outside.

The sun’s UV rays are a form of radiation that can cause sunburns and skin cancer and affect everyone’s skin and eyes. This month is especially important in our state.

“Skins cancer is one of the top five cancers in Alabama. And protection from UV exposure during childhood and adolescence reduces the risk of skin cancer in adulthood. And that’s our goal. Our goal here is to reduce skin cancer in adults,” said Lakita Hawes with the Alabama Department of Public Health.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, more than 9500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer daily in the US. The foundation reports that 1 in 4 Americans will develop skin cancer by age 70, and more than two people in the United States die of skin cancer every hour.

This doesn’t mean we should avoid the sun altogether, which can cause other health issues. ADPH says it just means we need to be smart about protecting ourselves when we are in the sun, and that needs to start at an early age.

“Applying sunscreen deliberately at a minimum of one ounce, every 15 to 30 minutes, even 15 minutes to 30 minutes before going outdoors. Reapply every hour if you’re swimming or doing a whole lot of sweating,” Hawes explained. “One of the tips that I would often tell people is if you’re outside, make it a routine, make it a habit and make it a habit to apply sunscreen. At least every hour. And if you make it a routine, then you’re more than likely to remember going forward, and you’re when you’re doing your outdoor activities.”

When it comes to protecting children from UV rays, health officials say babies younger than six months should be kept out of direct sunlight ad protected from its rays with hats and clothing. Then as they grow up, they need to be taught how to protect themselves, so it becomes a habit for them as they get older.

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