Spending time outside is a great way to be physically active, reduce stress, and get vitamin D. You can work and play outside without raising your skin cancer risk by protecting your skin from the sun. Most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. Ultraviolet rays are an invisible kind of radiation that comes from the sun, tanning beds, and sunlamps. UV rays can damage skin cells. The UV index forecasts the strength of UV rays each day – if the UV index is 3 or higher in your area, it is important to protect your skin from too much exposure to the sun. Sunscreens are assigned a sun protection factor (SPF), which is a number that rates how well they block UV rays. Higher numbers indicate more protection. You should use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF of 15 or higher. Sunscreen is not recommended for babies who are 6 months old or younger. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends keeping infants out of the sun during midday and using protective clothing if they must be in the sun. Make sure to reapply sunscreen if you stay in the sun for more than 2 hours and after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.
As always, the Georgia Poison Center is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide support and answer questions related to a potential poisonous exposures or drug information questions. Our team of experts includes pharmacists, nurses, and physicians who are specially trained in toxicology and poison prevention. If you or a family member have questions or concerns, please call our toll-free number at 1-800-222-1222.