Limit the sun, but not the fun. Be SunWise!

The days are getting longer and warmer, which might mean you’re spending more time outside enjoying activities with friends and family, especially before it gets too hot to comfortably enjoy being outdoors. 

However, whether you are walking the dog, hanging out in the pool, spending time at your local park, or hiking one of the many amazing trails Arizona has to offer, you may be putting yourself at risk for skin cancer if you’re not taking precautions and being SunWise

One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.

The most common cause of skin cancer is overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays. UV rays come from the sun, tanning beds, sun lamps, nail lamps, and other devices. UV rays can cause your skin to tan, freckle, or burn. Over time, UV rays damage your skin cells, which makes developing skin cancer more likely. 

Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers impacting residents of Arizona. There are an average of 2,552 new cases of melanoma in Arizona each year. 

Fortunately, most skin cancers are preventable. You can be SunWise this summer and all year and reduce your risk of developing skin cancer by following these sun safety tips:

  • Use sunscreen with an SPF 30+ every day, even when it’s cloudy. Don’t forget to reapply! 
  • Use SPF 30+ lip balm to protect your lips. They can be especially sensitive to the sun. 
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays. 
  • Cover up by wearing long sleeves and pants when possible. If you can’t cover up, be sure you wear sunscreen.
  • Limit your time outside when UV rays are most damaging, typically from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Find shade under a tree or ramada, or bring an umbrella when you know you will be spending time in the sun.
  • Check your local UV index daily to see the intensity of the sun’s rays. The higher the UV index, the more protection you need.
  • Avoid tanning booths and sunlamps! These artificial sources of UV light can cause as much damage as the sun’s UV rays. 

The Arizona Department of Health Service’s SunWise Skin Cancer Prevention Program wants to help you keep your skin healthy.

Visit the new SunWise webpage for more information on how you and your family can be safe in the sun. Be sure to also check out the awesome artwork by Arizona students who participated in the 2024 Be SunWise and Play Sun Smart Poster Contest! Congratulations to the 2024 finalists Joe Perazzo (Kindergarten), Rodrigo Gurrola (Second grade), Ava Erlacher (Third grade), and Keisha Ho (Eighth grade)!

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