sun protection workplace wellness

Skin Cancer Prevention: Protection from the Sun

It’s the day before Fourth of July, and we’re realists at Wellness Works Hub — all of us might not be in the office today! With that probability in mind, we wanted to remind folks of the importance of skin protection.

The importance of sun protection is clear. The FDA puts it starkly: “Exposure to the sun can cause sunburn, skin aging (such as skin spots, wrinkles, or ‘leathery skin’), eye damage, and skin cancer, the most common of all cancers.”

“And skin cancer is on the rise in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there were more than 71,943 people diagnosed with melanoma of the skin—the most serious form of skin cancer—in 2013 alone. About 4.3 million people are treated for basal cell cancer and squamous cell skin cancer in the United States every year, according to a 2014 report from the Office of the Surgeon General.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention writes: “The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes. Follow these recommendations to help protect yourself and your family.”

As for sunscreen, the CDC states: “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. Get help for hard-to-reach places like your back. And remember, sunscreen works best when combined with other options to prevent UV damage.”

How strong should your sunscreen be? According to the CDC: “Sunscreens are assigned a sun protection factor (SPF) number that rates their effectiveness in blocking UV rays. Higher numbers indicate more protection. You should use a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15.”

The American Cancer Society provides a range of extremely useful tips on how to be “safe in the sun.”

The FDA also offers this video: