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Keyword: skin cancer

Image by CDC_Sun SafetyShayna Murphy, M.S., CHES
Public Health Educator
Baltimore County Department of Health

The skin is the body’s largest organ. It protects us against heat, sunlight, injury and infection. Unfortunately, too much exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation can damage the skin, causing wrinkling, blotching and leathering. The most dangerous effects of long-term exposure to UV radiation are tanning and sunburns, which can lead to skin cancer.

Although people with lighter skin tones are at greater risk, people of all races and ethnic backgrounds can develop skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most preventable type of cancer — all you have to do is avoid getting sunburns.

Protect yourself and your family with these simple steps:

  • Limit sun exposure, especially during the sun’s peak hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Avoid sun tanning and tanning beds.
  • Generously apply UVA/UVB sunscreen with sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Re-apply every two hours after swimming or sweating.
  • Wear protective clothing such as long pants and long sleeved shirts, plus a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with UV protection to prevent cataracts.
  • Seek shade under umbrellas, trees and awnings.
  • Use extra caution near water, snow and sand, as they reflect the sun’s damaging rays, increasing chances of sunburn.

Remember to follow safety tips on cloudy days and during every season of the year. Click here for more information on sun safety from the Center for Disease Control.  


Revised April 6, 2016