July is UV Safety Month, which is fitting considering all of the time we spend outdoors during the height of the season, exposing ourselves to ultraviolet rays. While we certainly encourage stepping outside for a little vitamin D and the calming effects that only a summer breeze can provide, make sure you remain diligent about taking care of your skin each and every day.
According to the Department of Health & Human Services, the need to protect your skin from the sun has become very clear over the years and has been supported by several studies linking overexposure to the sun with skin cancer.
Even on days when the sun might not seem very bright or you don’t think you will be outside long, it is best to err on the side of caution and always use a broad-spectrum SPF, especially on sensitive places like your face, neck, chest and the back of your hands. You can also arm yourself with knowledge by checking the local forecast and UV index before heading outside. These tips are helpful throughout the year, not just in July.
While skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, it is also most successfully treated if caught early. Prevention is key when it comes to taking care of your skin and you can never start early enough. If you notice a spot or mole that looks a little abnormal, you can follow the “ABCDEs” to spot something that may need medical attention.
Asymmetry: One half of the mole or spot looks different than the other.
Border changes: The mark has an uneven border.
Color changes: There is a variety of colors, rather than just one.
Diameter: Anything larger than the size of a pencil eraser is worth investigating.
Evolving: The mark changes in size, shape, color or elevation.
If you notice something that follows any of the ABCDEs, you should consult a physician. Enjoying the summer months with your friends and family is important, but it can be done while remaining cautious and aware of your skin. By limiting direct exposure, using and reapplying sunblock and keeping an eye on any moles, marks or bumps, you can stay safe and healthy during UV Safety Month and all year through.
Learn more by visiting the Sun Safety Alliance and the Skin Cancer Foundation.