The Environmental Protection Agency wants you to stay vigilant against ultraviolet rays, protecting yourself from skin cancer and eye damage ahead of this sunny Memorial Day holiday weekend. On Friday, the agency released a list of tips to protect your skin and eye health as you spend time outside.
It’s all fun in the sun — until those rays are too strong and you get burned. People can develop skin cancer through continual overexposure to UV radiation the sun emits, and cataracts and eye damage from not wearing sunglasses outside. Around 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every day, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association.
“This long weekend, and all summer long, remember to take care of your skin and eyes when you are enjoying the outdoors,” said Joseph Goffman, principal deputy assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, in a press release.
In 2023 alone, doctors will diagnose in the US more than 97,600 new cases of melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, according to the American Skin Cancer Society.
These are a few steps you can take as you’re enjoying your holiday weekend to reduce the risk of skin cancer and eye damage, according to the EPA:
SLIP! – Slip on a long-sleeved shirt or other clothing that covers your skin.
SLOP! – Slop on a handful of sunscreen with sun protection factor (SPF) 15 or higher, and re-apply every two hours, or sooner if in the water.
SLAP! – Slap on a broad-brimmed hat to cover the back of your neck and the tips of your ears.
WRAP! – Wrap on a pair of sunglasses. Sunglasses that wrap around the sides of your face provide more sun protection.
Avoid tanning beds and minimize sunbathing.
Check the UV Index before spending time outdoors.
The EPA has an app, SunWise UV Index, you can use to check the UV index and see which level of sun protection you might need. It’s available for iOS and Android. You can also sign up for daily UV index forecast emails from the agency. Most weather apps, including the one preinstalled on iPhones, give UV indexes.
For more, check out the best sunscreens you should be slathering on this summer.