The best way to lower the risk for skin cancer is by avoiding exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation (rays), whether it be from an indoor tanning device or outdoor sunlight.
- The sun’s UV rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes.
- Indoor tanning (using a tanning bed, booth, sunbed, or sunlamp to get tan) exposes users to high levels of UV rays for the purpose of getting a tan.
Practice Sun Safety
Protection from UV rays is important all year round, not just during the summer or at the beach. UV rays from the sun can reach you on cloudy and hazy days, as well as bright and sunny days. UV rays also reflect off surfaces like water, cement, sand, and snow.
Everyone should practice these sun safety behaviors:
- Seek shade especially between 10am and 4pm;
- Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses;
- Apply sunscreen with SPF 15 of higher.
- Reapply every 2 hours and after swimming, excessive sweating, or toweling off;
- Avoid suntanning, tanned skin is damaged skin;
- Keep newborns out of the sun.
- Sunscreen should never be used on infants under six months, speak to your infant’s health care provider to learn more; and
- Start sun protection habits at an early age. Skin damage from UV exposure adds up over time, increasing the risk of getting skin cancer with age.
Avoid Indoor Tanning
Avoiding UV radiation from indoor tanning beds, booths, and sunlamps can help prevent skin cancer. Indoor tanning is more intense than natural sun exposure and tanning devices give off high levels of UV radiation in a short amount of time.
The NYS Indoor Tanning Law passed in 2018 prohibits a person under the age of 18 from using indoor tanning facilities.
Be a Sun Safe Worksite and Protect Your Employees
Businesses, daycares, outdoor recreation settings, outdoor worksites, schools, and other employers can help prevent skin cancer. Worksites can offer education and reminders to staff, install shade outside, provide sunscreen at no charge, and adopt an internal policy which addresses sun safety.
By adopting a sun safety policy, organizations can help make the healthier choice the easier choice for staff, students, families, and patrons.