Guest Blog (3)

Fun in the sun is much more likely to happen if you and your family are properly protected from the sun’s harmful rays — and those rays can be sneakier than you think. Set the stage for proper sun protection by learning some important sun-related facts.

3 Million: Number of skin cancer cases that could be avoided every year

One of the highest risk factors for sun cancer is exposure to both natural and artificial UV rays. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) says removing that single risk from the equation could prevent more than 3 million cases of skin cancer each year. What’s more, did you know the number of people who develop skin cancer due to tanning outweighs the number of people who develop lung cancer due to smoking?

18: Age before which we get most of our lifetime sun exposure

Our childhoods and teen years are typically packed with plenty of sunshine, which means it’s especially important to protect your kids. Babies less than 6 months old should be treated to full coverage altogether, with a resting spot in the shade and protective clothing.

3: Number of different types of UV rays emitted by the sun

As previously mentioned, harmful rays may be sneakier than you might think, a fact evidenced by the three different ultraviolet ray varieties:

  • UVA rays easily pass through the ozone layer, contributing to skin damage and skin cancer
  • UVB rays are largely absorbed by the ozone layer, but those that get through are even harsher than their UVA cousins
  • UVC rays are the most dangerous of the bunch, but the ozone layer blocks them from reaching earth

6: Number of personal risk factors that can increase sun exposure hazards

At least six risk factors can increase your possibility of sunburn or other UV damage. These are:

  • Fair hair
  • Fair skin that burns easily
  • Skin with more than 50 moles, large moles or atypical moles
  • Family history of skin cancer
  • History of excessive sun exposure
  • Tanning bed use

110: One of the highest SPF factors on the market

While you may see sunscreen sporting a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) as high as 110, higher is not necessarily better, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. SPF generally denotes the amount of protection from UVB rays a sunscreen offers, with SPF 15 blocking 93 percent and SPF 30 blocking nearly 97 percent. SPF 50 offers protection from 98 percent of UVB radiation, and going any higher isn’t going to provide much more protection.

Choosing a higher SPF may also backfire in the way of safety, making people think they are more protected than they are. This could lead to spending excess amounts of time in the sun, or even forgetting about the additional protection they need to ward off the UVA rays, something many sunscreens don’t do. To find a sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection, look for labels marked broad spectrum, multispectrum or UVA/UVB.

4: Number of steps you can take to ensure full sun protection

  • Sunscreen is good, but it’s not the end-all for sun protection. Treat it as an important first step, but don’t forget the other three.
  • Sun protective clothing can be a great help, especially if you’re hiking, biking or otherwise involved in outdoor activities. Look for lightweight shirts, shorts, pants, swimming gear and long-sleeved jackets with a built-in ultraviolet protection factor (UPF).
  • Shelter is another must, giving you a break from the heat as well as the sun’s harmful rays. Beach umbrellas and tents can travel with you, while sails, cantilevers and other shade structures can be installed over play equipment and pools in your yard.
  • Eye protection for both adults and children is a wise choice. UVB rays don’t stop at damaging your skin; they can also damage your eyes.

One more tip is to take extra precautions between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun is at its most sizzling in the summer. Full protection can help you and your family enjoy spending time in the sun.

About the author:

Jeff Caldwell is Brand Manager of Superior Shade in Carrollton, GA. Superior Shade provides shade structures for protection from the sun and harmful UV rays. They offer a multitude of customizable options to fit your needs and your outdoor area.