UV and Skin Cancer: Get Adequate Sun Protection

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Woman applying sunscreen on her shoulder

The Phoenix NBA team isn’t called the Suns for no reason. Phoenix and the rest of Arizona are some of the sunniest places in the nation, and along with the sun comes harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV rays from the sun are the leading cause of skin cancers as well as the primary reason for visible skin aging. There might be no escaping the sun (in the valley of the sun), but there are ways to ward off UV.

Safety in Your Home

If you think you’re safe from the sun while you’re at home, you’re mistaken. Arizona is situated quite close to the equator, making it hotter and more exposed to the sun. The lack of cloudy skies also means you get sunny weather almost every day of the year. With these conditions, you don’t have to be outdoors to get exposed to UV. Large glass windows and doors expose your house to constant UV radiation, causing your skin to age and making you more vulnerable to skin cancer. Let the sunshine in but keep the UV out by using UV filtering films. Many window-tinting companies can treat your glass and windows in just a matter of hours. Window films can last 10-15 years, and as a bonus, they keep your house a bit cooler.

Sun Exposure and Driving

The minutes you spend driving to and from work result in sun exposure. Chronic UV exposure can have terrible consequences. Your car’s windshield will probably have UV shielding, especially if you drive a newer model. However, your car windows won’t provide the same protection. Studies in both the USA and the UK have shown that UV exposure when driving correlates to increased risks of developing skin cancer. The majority of skin cancers in American drivers develop in the left side of the body, and British drivers develop them on the right, primarily because of sun exposure through the driver-side window. Drive to a shop and have your car windows treated with UV filtering film. This protects you from 99 percent of the UV radiation you’ll otherwise receive every time you go out driving in the daytime.

Protective Clothing and Sunscreen

Worker in garage tinting a car window with tinted foil or film

Putting on sunscreen every time you go outside can be bothersome. Limit your UV exposure by wearing wide-brimmed hats. Your scalp, face, and neck are especially vulnerable to UV damage together with your hands, arms, and legs. Hats protect your face and your neck from the sun, and long sleeve shirts and pants protect your arms and legs. Arizona has no shortage of cowboys, so wearing a hat won’t seem out of place. Use an umbrella during bright sunny days. Umbrellas are growing in popularity as measures to get away from the sun, and they provide much more coverage than any hat. Of course, you should always wear sunscreen if the situation calls for it. Just remember that sunscreen only lasts a couple of hours and intense physical activity and moisture can cut that time in half.

The sun and Arizona are intertwined. However, you can protect yourself from UV exposure and all its harmful consequences.


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