Today is “Don’t Fry Day”

The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention has declared the Friday before Memorial Day Weekend “Don’t Fry Day!” in order to remind people to protect their skin from damage from the sun this weekend.

Their recommendation is to focus on as many of the following as possible:

  • Do Not Burn or Tan
  • Seek Shade
  • Wear Sun-Protective Clothing
  • Generously Apply Sunscreen
  • Use Extra Caution Near Water, Snow, and Sand
  • Get Vitamin D Safely

None of these steps, taken alone, is enough.

According to their websiteSkin cancer is on the rise in the United States, and the American Cancer Society estimates that one American dies every hour from skin cancer. This year alone, the American Cancer Society estimates there will be more than 73,870 new cases of malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, and more than two million new cases of basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers in the U.S.

Protect your skin and future health and “Don’t Fry” this weekend.



Skin Cancer Awareness and Prevention

Skin Cancer Awareness and Prevention

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The two most common types of skin cancer—basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas—are highly curable. However, melanoma, the third most common skin cancer, is more dangerous. About 65%–90% of melanomas are caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light

Protection from sun exposure is important all year round, not just during the summer or at the beach. Ultraviolet (UV) rays can reach you on cloudy and hazy days, as well as bright and sunny days. UV rays also reflect off of surfaces like water, cement, sand, and snow.

The hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. daylight savings time (9 a.m. to 3 p.m. standard time) are the most hazardous for UV exposure in the continental United States. UV rays are the greatest during the late spring and early summer in North America.


Ultraviolet (UV) Light

Ultraviolet (UV) rays are an invisible kind of radiation that comes from the sun, tanning beds, and sunlamps. UV rays can penetrate and change skin cells.

The three types of UV rays are ultraviolet A (UVA), ultraviolet B (UVB), and ultraviolet C (UVC)—

  • UVA is the most common kind of sunlight at the earth’s surface, and reaches beyond the top layer of human skin. Scientists believe that UVA rays can damage connective tissue and increase a person’s risk of skin cancer.
  • Most UVB rays are absorbed by the ozone layer, so they are less common at the earth’s surface than UVA rays. UVB rays don’t reach as far into the skin as UVA rays, but they can still be damaging.
  • UVC rays are very dangerous, but they are absorbed by the ozone layer and do not reach the ground.

Too much exposure to UV rays can change skin texture, cause the skin to age prematurely, and can lead to skin cancer. UV rays also have been linked to eye conditions such as cataracts.

UV Index

The National Weather Service and the Environmental Protection Agency developed the UV Index to forecast the risk of overexposure to UV rays. It lets you know how much caution you should take when working, playing, or exercising outdoors.

The UV Index predicts exposure levels on a 1–15 scale; higher levels indicate a higher risk of overexposure. Calculated on a next-day basis for dozens of cities across the United States, the UV Index takes into account clouds and other local conditions that affect the amount of UV rays reaching the ground.

Exposure
Category

Index Number

Sun Protection Messages

LOW

<2

You can safely enjoy being outside. Wear sunglasses on bright days. If you burn easily, cover up and use sunscreen SPF 15+.

In winter, reflections off snow can nearly double UV strength.

MODERATE

3-5

Take precautions if you will be outside, such as wearing a hat and sunglasses and using sunscreen SPF 15+. Reduce your exposure to the sun’s most intense UV radiation by seeking shade during midday hours.

HIGH

6-7

Protection against sun damage is needed. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, use sunscreen SPF 15+ and wear a long-sleeved shirt and pants when practical. Reduce your exposure to the sun’s most intense UV radiation by seeking shade during midday hours.

VERY HIGH

8-10

Protection against sun damage is needed. If you need to be outside during midday hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., take steps to reduce sun exposure. A shirt, hat and sunscreen are a must, and be sure you seek shade.

Beachgoers should know that white sand and other bright surfaces reflect UV and can double UV exposure.

EXTREME

11+

Protection against sun damage is needed. If you need to be outside during midday hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., take steps to reduce sun exposure. A shirt, hat and sunscreen are a must, and be sure you seek shade.

Beachgoers should know that white sand and other bright surfaces reflect UV and can double UV exposure.

 

CDC recommends easy options for sun protection1

  • Seek shade, especially during midday hours.
  • Wear clothing to protect exposed skin.
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears, and neck.
  • Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block as close to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays as possible.
  • Use sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher, and both UVA and UVB protection.