Updated on July 2, 2014
The Skin Cancer Foundation would like to remind you to stay sun-safe this Independence Day, and all through the summer. Whether you're at the beach or in your own backyard, keep in mind that about 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers and about 86 percent of melanomas can be attributed to exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
People heading to the beach should be particularly vigilant, because water reflects up to 10 percent of the sun's rays, seafoam about 25 percent, and sand about 15 percent, adding to your overall exposure.
At backyard picnics and barbecues, seek shade under leafy green trees, and schedule Independence Day celebrations when the sun is less intense (before 10 AM and after 4 PM).
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher daily. For extended outdoor activity, use a water resistant, broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Sunscreen alone is not enough, however. Here is the full list of skin cancer prevention tips, for use July 4th weekend and all year long:
- 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 doctor every year for a professional skin exam.
With a few simple precautions, you can celebrate Independence Day and enjoy time outdoors without risking your skin's health.