Sun screen to avoid that summer scream, how UV rays can cause skin cancer


EASTERN SHORE, Md. -With the summer heat comes plenty of opportunities to enjoy the sunshine, like spending time outdoors or hitting the beach, but while you’re soaking up that sun, the stronger UV rays could be dangerous to your health.

“The vast majority of skin cancers are caused by past exposure to the sun,” Dr. Dowling said.

Dr. Sally Dowling of Atlantic General Hospital, cannot stress enough how important it is to protect your skin. While Sunburn may be uncomfortable in the short term, long term exposure to UV rays can lead to cancer.

“What happens is that the damage to the cells over the years then puts you at risk for any of the skin cancers,” Dowling said. “Much more common in people who spend time in the sun, much more common in sun-exposed areas like the face, ears, arms and neck.”

The three most common types of skin cancer are Basal cell carcinoma, Squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma.

“That is the cancer that no one wants to get. Can spread to lymph nodes and other parts of your body and is the deadliest of the three cancers.”

UV, or ultraviolet rays, come directly from the sun. 47ABC’s Chief Meteorologist Rich Wirdzek says the atmosphere above us helps to protect us initially, but we still need to take precautions.

“You want to buy a sunscreen that’s considered broad spectrum. They protect you from the two types of UV rays, UVA and UVB,” Wirdzek said. “Those types of sunscreens that are best to protect you from the sun when you are out during the summer.”

For the UV index, 0-3 is low, okay to be outside but still should apply sunscreen. Anything above 3-8 it is suggested to use sunscreen and reapply otherwise there can be damage done to your skin by the UV rays.

Anything about 8, it is recommended not to even be outside during that 10a.m. – 2p.m. time period because of the strength of the UV rays and the damage it could cause to your skin. Even if it is cloudy, you should still lather up.

“Thicker, greyer, darker clouds block a lot of the UV rays and a lot of the sunlight, but still 30-35% of the sun’s rays get through on the darker clouds.”

“High clouds that we get during the summertime, they don’t block much of the sun at all. Maybe about 10% at most so you absolutely can get burned if it is cloudy.”

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