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Sunsational Facts

The Sun & UV Radiation
• Sunlight contains ultraviolet radiation (270nm – 400nm), which is classified into three types based upon the particular wavelength.
• UV-C (270nm – 290nm) rays are blocked by the ozone layer.
• UV-B rays (290nm – 320nm; Burning rays) cause burning, tanning, and DNA mutations which lead to skin cancer.
• UV-A rays (320nm – 400nm; Aging rays) are subdivided into short-wave UV-AII (320nm – 340nm) and long-wave UV-AI (340nm – 400nm). UV-A rays penetrate deeper into the dermis, producing free radicals that contribute to wrinkles, dyspigmentation, freckles, loss of skin elasticity, and skin cancer.
• UV-A radiation is almost 20-times more abundant compared with UVB radiation. Therefore, 100 times more UV-A photons reach the dermis than UV-B photons.
• The ultraviolet radiation produced by the sun can be as detrimental on a cloudy day as it is on a sunny day. Clouds block only 20% of UV light from the sun.
• Just 10 minutes of sun exposure begins to stimulate melanin pigment formation, and is enough to begin a sun burn.
• Remember, the suns rays are just as direct in April, as they are in August.
• UV-A rays easily penetrate glass, even though UV-B rays are blocked.
• Although clothing does provide important sun protection, an average t-shirt only has an SPF rating of about 6. This is enough to prevent a sun burn, but not enough to prevent deeper skin damage.
• Tanning beds are not healthier than sitting in the sun. In fact, the UV-A radiation emitted by tanning beds is three times that amount of harmful radiation emitted by the sun.
• Frequent tanners using the new high-pressure sunlamps may receive as much as 12 times the annual UV-A dose compared to the dose they receive from sun exposure.
• Nearly 30 million people tan indoors in the U.S. every year; 2.3 million of them are teens.
• Indoor ultraviolet (UV) tanners are 74% more likely to develop melanoma than those who have never tanned indoors.
• 71% of tanning salon patrons are girls and women aged 16-29.

Sun Damage
• Despite previous reports that 50-80% of our lifetime sun exposure occurs before the age of 18, the actual number is closer to 23%.
• Most people exhibit some type of sun damage by age 25-30.
• 90% of the changes commonly attributed to aging are caused by the sun.
• There is no such thing as a safe sun tan. If you absolutely must be tan, avoid the sun and try a sunless tanning product.
• Teenagers won’t see the effects of sun damage until they reach their 40s and 50s or later. By then, however, the damage already is done.
• 90% of women have some type of pigmentation problem due to pregnancy, hormones, birth control pills and/or the sun.

Skin Cancer
• Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in this country for both men and women. More than 3.5 million skin cancers are diagnosed annually in over two million people.
• UV light is responsible for at least 90% of all basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers.
• Only 11% of people use a SPF 15 or higher daily.
• Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in this country.
• 1 in 5 Americans will develop some form of skin cancer during their lifetime.
• Basal cell carcinoma (BCCa) is the most common form of skin cancer; an estimated 2.8 million are diagnosed annually in the US. BCCa is rarely fatal, but can be disfiguring if allowed to grow.
• Squamous cell carcinoma (SCCa) is the second most common form of skin cancer. An estimated 700,000 cases are diagnosed each year in the US, resulting in approximately 2,500 deaths.
• 3% of childhood cancers are skin cancers
• Skin cancer occurs more often in women, in their late 20s and early 30s, than breast cancer.
• According to the American Cancer Society, more than 1 million non-melanoma skin cancers are diagnosed every year; therefore, as many non-melanoma skin cancers are diagnosed each year as all other cancers combined.
• The number of women under age 40 diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma has more than doubled in the last 30 years; the incidence of squamous cell carcinoma among women under age 40 has increased almost 700 percent.
• Researchers estimate that 40% – 50% of people in the United States who live to age 65 will have non-melanoma skin cancer at least once. The risk is highest for fair-skinned people with red or blond hair and light-colored eyes.
• Occurrences of skin cancer are on the rise even though sunscreen use is increased. Many believe this is because most sunscreens stop UV-B rays, so people stay in the sun longer, thinking they are protected. This leads to prolonged UV-A exposure and significant sun damage.

Melanoma
• Approximately 65% of melanomas skin cancers are attributed to UV exposure.
• Melanoma is now the most common cancer in men and women aged 20 – 29.
• Melanoma is the second most common form of cancer in young people 15-29 years of age.
• Melanoma is the fastest growing cancer in the US.
• Melanoma cases are increasing at a rate of 3% per year – faster than any of the seven most common cancers.
• Until age 39, women are almost twice as likely to develop melanoma as men. Starting at age 40, melanoma incidence in men exceeds the incidence in women, and this trend becomes more pronounced with each decade.
• The majority of people diagnosed with melanoma are white men over the age of 50.
• Risk factors for melanoma include a fair complexion, a family history of melanoma, severe sunburns as a child, and using a tanning bed ten times a year or more before age 30.
• One or more blistering sunburns in childhood or adolescence more than double a person’s chances of developing melanoma later in life. A person’s risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns at any age.
• During the past 10 years the number of cases of melanoma has increased more rapidly than any other cancer. Over 60,000 new cases are reported to the American Cancer Society each year; and probably that many more occur which are not reported.
• Based on rates from 2006-2008, 2% of white men and women born today will be diagnosed with melanoma of the skin at some time during their lifetime. This means that 1 in 50 men and women will be diagnosed with melanoma of the skin during their lifetime. The lifetime risk of melanoma is 0.5% (1 in 200) for Hispanics, and 0.1% (1 in 1,000) for blacks.
• The most important preventable cause of melanoma is excessive exposure to UV radiation from the sun or other sources.
• If detected early, melanoma is treatable.
• Because melanoma spreads quickly, early detection and treatment is critical to survival. If melanoma spreads, there is no known cure.
• One person dies of melanoma every 62 minutes.
• In women aged 25-29, melanoma is the primary cause of cancer death; in women aged 30-34 it is the second most common cause of cancer death.
• Melanoma is one of only three cancers (along with liver cancer and esophageal cancer) with an increasing mortality rate for men.

Sunscreens
• A sunscreens SPF number is a measure of the protection provided against UV-B (290nm – 320nm) rays only.
• In the past, the term “Broad Spectrum” seen on sunscreen labeling was often misleading, and did not necessarily imply adequate protection through the majority of the UV-A spectrum. Today the products tend to be better, but it is still important that you select a product that provides complete protection against UV-B and UV-A rays. Read more about Broad Spectrum UV Protection and Critical Wavelength.
• A sunscreen with SPF 30 does not provide twice as much protection as one with SPF 15. The SPF does not actually increase proportionately with a designated SPF number. With an SPF of 30, 97% of UV-B rays are deflected, while an SPF of 15 indicates 93% deflection and an SPF of 2 equals 50% deflection. Read more about Sun Protection Factor (SPF) Rating System and UV-B Protection.
• Some of the newer research in the last several years shows that sub-erythemal doses (exposure to the sun that does not cause reddening of the skin), of as little as one-tenth the energy needed to get a sunburn, start the process of skin damage.
• 93% of parents do not correctly use sunscreen on their children
• 15% of the population believes they are allergic to sunscreen, when in reality only 3-5% of the population (is allergic to, or) has had some reaction to a sunscreen product.
• The public under-applies sunscreens by as much as half of the recommended amount, concluded a study published in the Archives of Dermatology. Consequently, the study argued, consumers are receiving only half of the SPF protection they believe the product provides.
• Sunscreen should be applied to the skin at a concentration of at least 2mg / cm2 body surface. That means that an adult male should use about one ounce (30-35cc, a shot glass) of sunscreen per application.
• Daily use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen with long-wave UV-A protection is critical, because the UV-A rays easily penetrate glass, even though the shorter wavelength UV-B rays are blocked.

 

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