UK HealthCare

Have Fun in the Sun, But be Sure to Protect Your Skin

Photo credit: Mykola Sosiukin, iStock / Getty Images Plus.

The University of Kentucky Public Relations and Strategic Communications Office provides a weekly health column available for use and reprint by news media. This week's column is by Baillie McCane, injury prevention and outreach coordinator for UK HealthCare Trauma/Surgical Services.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 9, 2021) As summer winds down and the cooler fall weather settles in, being outside in the fresh air is important and encouraged.

However, it is equally important to remember that too much UV (ultraviolet) exposure can be damaging to your health.

UV rays are an invisible form of radiation produced by the sun, tanning beds and other man-made sources. UV radiation is the leading cause of skin cancer in the United States. The sun’s rays can be very damaging to the eyes, potentially causing cataracts, macular degeneration and vision loss. These rays tend to be strongest between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

People who have fair skin, light-colored hair, freckles and/or light-colored eyes may be more susceptible and prone to sunburns. That is why it is important to understand the sunscreen you are applying. A higher SPF number means more UVB protection. For example, when applying SPF 30 sunscreen properly, you get the equivalent of one minute of UVB rays per 30 minutes spent in the sun. Therefore, one hour in the sun while wearing SPF 30 sunscreen would be equivalent to spending two minutes in the sun completely unprotected.

Keep yourself and your loved ones protected by:

  • Knowing that clouds don’t block UV light.
  • Staying in the shade.
  • Wearing protective clothing such as hats and long sleeves.
  • Applying broad spectrum sunscreen.
  • Never looking directly at the sun.
  • Wearing sunglasses labeled UV400 or 100% UV protection.
  • Avoiding tanning beds.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.