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If you are a part of the Gen X or millennial generations like me, then it is likely that you remember the days when worshiping the sun and being as tan as possible was all the rage. But gone are the days of slathering your skin with tanning lotion, baby oil or good ole cooking spray (yikes). With a new generation being ushered in, so is the new sensation of protecting your skin and practicing sun safety—with good reason.
Melanoma is the most common cancer worldwide and at least 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. Many dermatologists and younger adults, who are self-proclaiming themselves as the “no sun club,” are taking to social media platforms to educate the masses on how to properly care for your skin to guard against the sun’s harmful effects.
Although the “no sun club” has increased in popularity, old habits can be hard to break. According to the CDC, less than half of older adults protect their skin from the sun, with 30% of women and less than 15% of men regularly using sunscreen on both the face and other exposed areas of skin.
Despite consistent application of sunscreen being crucial to the health of your skin, it is also important to note that proper sun safety extends far beyond sunscreen. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends eight action steps to help you and your family be sun safe, starting with the often overlooked and forgotten about UV index.
What even is the UV index?
If you’re anything like me, then checking your handy dandy weather app first thing is part of your morning routine, because after all, a girl needs to know how to dress for the day. However, I very rarely ever pay any attention to the UV index and even if I did, I am not quite sure I would even know how to use the information.
So, that leads us to ask, what even is the UV index? The UV index predicts the expected ultraviolet (UV) radiation at solar noon, which is when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. Overexposure to UV rays has both immediate and long-term effects such as sunburn, skin aging, cataracts, and skin cancer. In fact, 86% of melanomas are caused by UV radiation from the sun. Knowing how to properly decipher the UV index number is key when protecting your skin. The EPA recommends taking simple actions to avoid overexposure to harmful UV rays in the chart below.
About the Author
Organizations are in a constant state of change and the Kinetiq Health team supports them every step of the way. A unique formula of people, processes and technologies enables our team to keep an educated eye on the financial and clinical implications of data to move organizations toward improved financial health and employee well-being.