July is UV Safety Month
Summer is in full swing and most of us are enjoying taking in those beautiful, warm summer rays. As carefree as summer should be, we should never forget to protect our eyes and skin from the damaging effects of the sun.
Important UV Facts
The sun emits radiation known as UV-A and UV-B rays and both types can damage your eyes and skin.
- UV-A rays have longer wavelengths that can penetrate the middle layer of your skin and account for up to 95% of radiation reaching the earth’s surface. They are less intense than UVB, however, UVA rays are 30 to 50 times more prevalent and can penetrate clouds and glass.
- UV-B rays have short wavelengths that reach the outer layer of your skin and are the chief cause of skin reddening and sunburn which damages the skin’s more superficial epidermal layers and plays a key role in the development of skin cancer. The most significant amount of UVB hits the U.S. between 10 AM and 4 PM from April to October.
Did You Know that Unprotected Sun Exposure Can Do This?
- Cause vision problems and damage to your eyes
- Suppression of the immune system
- Premature aging of the skin
- Skin cancer
Take These Steps to Protect Yourself
Wearing a Hat (preferably wide-brimmed) or other shade-protective clothing can partly shield your skin from the harmful effects of UV ray exposure. Proper clothing may include long-sleeved shirts, pants, hats, and UV rated sunglasses – for eye protection. If you spend extended periods in the sun, consider wearing UV protective clothing, which provides as much as SPF 50 protection.
Stay in the Shade
The sun’s glare is most intense at midday. Staying in the shade between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. will further protect your skin. The sun can still damage your skin on cloudy days or in the winter. For this reason, it is important to stay protected throughout the year.
Choose the Right Sunscreen
This is extremely important. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) new regulations for sunscreen labeling recommend that your sunscreen have a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, and should protect against both Ultraviolet A (UV-A) and Ultraviolet B (UV-B) rays. Always pay attention to the expiration dates on the container.
Use the Right Amount of Sunscreen
According to the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, most people apply only 25-50 percent of the recommended amount of sunscreen. When out in the sun, it’s important that you apply at least one ounce (a palmful) of sunscreen every two hours. You should apply it more often if you are sweating or swimming, even if the sunscreen is waterproof. It is important to understand that wearing less sunscreen does NOT provide maximum protection for less time; it provides proportionately less protection at the time of application.
Whether at work or play, be sure to protect your eyes and skin from damaging sun rays!