Summertime is a great time to get outside and be active. However, ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can cause skin cancer, as well as wrinkles and blotchy skin. Often times, we become so busy taking advantage of the sun that we forget to protect our largest organ-which is busy protecting us against heat, sunlight, injury and infection.

To keep our skin healthy, we need to take extra precautions to protect it. During the month of July, join OAAPN in taking action to prevent skin cancer and reduce the risk of UV damage.

Follow these simple steps to safeguard your skin from the harmful effects of the sun and share with your patients, colleagues and family, too.

  • Cover up: Wear protective clothing to shield your skin from the harmful effects of UV ray exposure. Proper clothing may include long-sleeved shirts, pants, hats, and sunglasses – for eye protection.
  • Shield the eyes: UV rays can also penetrate the structures of your eyes and cause cell damage. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat to shade the face and eyes, along with UV block sunglasses can protect the eyes from sun-related damage such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and pterygium.
  • Stay in the shade: Seek shade or avoid the sun entirely during the most intense hours of the sun’s glare from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Remember: the sun can still damage your skin on cloudy days and in the winter, so stay protected even if you don’t think you’ll get burned.
  • Choose wisely: Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen to cover all exposed skin generously and repeatedly throughout the day. The “broad spectrum” variety protects against overexposure to ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. The FDA recommends using sunscreens that are not only broad spectrum, but that also have a sun protection factor (SPF) value of at least 15 for protection against sun-induced skin problems.
  • Use correctly: Sunscreen must be reapplied throughout the day, even if it is “water resistant.” To ensure accurate coverage, apply sunscreen at a rate of one ounce every two hours. Depending on how much of the body needs coverage, a full-day (six-hour) outing could require an entire tube of sunscreen.

July may be UV Safety Month, but it is important to protect your skin and eyes year-round from hazardous UV rays.