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Summer is the time of year when many people spend more time outdoors. Whether enjoying time at the beach, pool, park, mountains or in the garden - the end result is more time in the sun. While this sunshine feels good and being outside is a good way to be physically active and get vitamin D, the sun puts out radiation (UV-A and UV-B rays) that can cause damage to both your skin and eyes. UV rays can also reach you on cloudy and cool days, and they reflect off of surfaces like water, cement, sand, and snow. Additionally, indoor tanning devices can emit UV radiation in amounts that are 10 to 15 times higher than the sun at its peak intensity.

An estimated 90 percent of skin aging is caused by the sun. Studies show that people who use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher daily show 24% less skin aging than those who do not use sunscreen daily. Sun aging and damage is cumulative. The earlier you start protective measures the better. It is important to remember that protection from these damaging UV rays is important all year long.

One in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70, and more than 9,500 people are diagnosed daily. Every day, approximately 24 Americans die from melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. However, even though skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, it is also one of the most preventable. When detected early, the five year survival rate for melanoma is 99 percent.

You can help reduce your risk of skin cancer, eye cancer, skin aging and some cataracts by protecting your skin and eyes from harmful UV rays. Here are some tips to limit exposure and prevent damage:

- Apply Sunscreen - Before going outside, apply a waterproof, broad-spectrum (UV-A and UV-B) sunscreen with a sun protection (SPF) of 15-30. Remember to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, as well as after swimming or sweating.

- Cover Up - Wear a wide-brimmed hat, baseball cap and/or protective clothing to shield your skin.
- Wear Sunglasses - Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays. Wraparound sunglasses are the most protective.

- Stay in the Shade - Find shade underneath a shelter, an umbrella or a tree, especially between 10AM and 4PM when the sun is at its' peak.

- Hydrate - Drink plenty of water throughout the day. While getting enough fluids is always important, it is critical when you are spending time in the sun.

- Early detection - Do a regular skin self-exams. If you notice any spots on your skin that are different from the others, or anything changing, itching or bleeding, make an appointment with your primary care physician or a board-certified dermatologist as soon as possible.

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