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Don't hide from the sun... protect yourself instead

I've been in the safety/security business since 1995.I teach safety/security classes,educate about products,am a regular TV contributor.I write for a 1 million member trade group.

Learn about the dangers of too much sun, and the types of products that will protect you from damaging UV rays while still allowing you to enjoy beautiful sunny days.

woman sunbathing

Photo credit: Getty Images

All of us have waited with bated breath for winter to end and sunny spring and summer days to begin. Here we are. However, we often forget about the dangers of excessive sun exposure. This danger is year-round, not just in the summer. The danger of excessive sun exposure is major because it can actually be fatal if not detected and treated. Learn how to recognize and reduce the danger.

How many times have you given a compliment or even smiled when you received a compliment about a healthy and glowing tan? Keep in mind that a tan is not a sign of health, it is the skin's response to being damaged and injured.

People who get sunburned as children are the most likely to get skin cancer as adults. The good news is that the risks can be prevented.

Although people of all ages visit tanning salons, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) melanoma is the most common form of cancer in young adults (under 29). It is often attributed to tanning bed usage. 100 percent preventable.

Did you know:

  • 1 American dies every hour from melanoma?
  • In 2014, it’s estimated that more than 9,700 deaths in the U.S. will be attributed to melanoma?
  • UV rays can damage the skin in less than 15 minutes? Imagine the damage done while driving or even sitting in your office in front of a window.
  • You can get a sunburn even in the shade?
  • 9 a.m.-3 p.m. is the most hazardous time for UV exposure and damage?
  • Hair and eye color increase the odds of cancer. The fairer complected are at the most risk.

Wake-up calls

All skin colors (even people of color) can be damaged by UV exposure. Although rare, melanoma and other skin cancers can occur in people with darker skin tones. It is usually on the palms and soles of the feet. Many people don't realize that Bob Marley died of melanoma that started under one of his toenails and spread simply because he refused to get treatment.

Quoted in a health.com article, Dr. Angela J. Lamb, MD, assistant professor of Dermatology of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, advises sunscreen use daily, year-round. She advises people to make it a part of their daily routine, like brushing their teeth.

During your annual skin screening, make sure your doctor photographs suspicious moles for year-to-year comparison.

What's on the market to help you enjoy outdoor activities and stay safe from the sun's dangerous rays?

  1. Lightweight and non-chalky sunscreen: Sunscreen manufacturers have vastly improved sunscreen applications. You can get spray-on and lightweight sunscreens. These can be worn under makeup and are non-comedogenic (won't block pores).
  2. Contact lenses offering UV protection: Only one major contact lens manufacturer is in the UV protection game. They do warn that you must still wear wraparound UV-safe sunglasses and a wide-brim hat.
  3. UV safe clothing: There are quality lines of sportswear and fashionable beach clothing that have built-in UV protection. There are even high-fashion, upscale hats with UV protection. "Cooling" clothing for super-hot days prevents UV damage and keeps wearers cool and comfortable.
  4. Beach safety: Umbrellas offer protection from the sun's harmful rays; however, UV protection increases the safety of beach relaxation. Movable sun shields offer a greater level of protection from the sneaky rays of the sun.
  5. Child safety: UV-protected swimsuits, wide-rimmed bonnets, stroller covers, water goggles and chemical-free sunscreens all allow kids to be kids and offer immeasurable protection.
  6. Makeup safety: Not only is there sunscreen that is designed to be worn under makeup, there are actual major lines of makeup with the UV protection built in. This makeup covers several levels from tinting your skin to actually providing coverage.
There is innovation in the field, including water that purports to provide UV protection from the inside. One version even offers enhanced tanning, in addition to the UV protection.

Don't take the dangers from the sun's rays for granted. Don't ignore the long-term and life-changing damage in the name of looking pretty. It is not worth it. Utilize the innovative products that are on the market to make it safer and easier to enjoy beautiful sunny weather without the risk.

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