Did you know that this is National Skin Awareness Month? According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, with over two million people diagnosed annually. No matter what you skin tone is, all humans are susceptible to various types of skin cancer. The Skin Caner Foundation gives a number of recommendations to help prevent the disease:
- Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM.
- Do not burn.
- Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths.
- Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
- Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
- Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
- Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
- See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.
Here’s something that many don’t realize: even indoors you can still be exposed to harmful UV rays. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using window film to help protect your skin while indoors as well. As Dr. Perry Robins, MD, President of The Skin Cancer Foundation states: “To see the damage that untreated glass can do, take a close look at the furnishings in your home that are hit by direct sunlight. If the sun has faded the color of your sofa, it can just as easily damage your skin when you sit there.” Just look at the picture below. If your indoor floors and furniture can show signs of sun damage, so can you.
As the Skin Cancer Foundation website notes, ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation from the sun is effectively blocked by glass. However, at least 50 percent of UVA rays can pass through windows. Window film is an increasingly effective solution, offering substantial indoor protection by blocking up to 99.9 percent of UVA radiation.