1 One in every five Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in life.
2 Skin cancer kills more than 9,200 Americans every year; more than three quarters of those deaths are from malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
3 Sunlight is the cause of most cases of skin cancer.
4 Studies suggest that one to three blistering sunburns before the age of 20 double a person’s chances of developing malignant melanoma.
5 For the average American, 80 percent of lifetime sun exposure – and cancer-causing damage – occurs before age 18.
6 Although skin uses sunlight to manufacture essential supplies of vitamin D, a mere 15 minutes’ exposure to sunlight each day will do the trick, as will four glasses of forified milk or a single multivitamin pill.
7 A suntan is not a sign of heatlh; it is a sign of skin damage, as the pigment-producing cells send more melanin to the surface in a tardy effort to provide the skin with a natural sunscreen.
8 Deterioration of the ozone layer has permitted increased amounts of damaging radiation from the sun to reach the earth, making the same amount of sunlight much more damaging than it was a generation ago.
9 Fewer people today consider a suntan to be an attractive look. A recent survey found that 79 percent of those questioned use sunscreen or sunblock, with use among teens greater than among adults (smart kids!). Only 21 percent of those questioned admitted to actively sunbathing to achieve a tan.
10 The most powerful rays of the sun hit the earth between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. This is true even on cloudy and overcast days, since 80 percent of the sun’s radiation penetrates cloud cover.
Protecting the skin from exposure to the sun is important during these peak hours: Seek shade; wear opaque clothing, brimmed hats, and sunglasses; cover all exposed skin with a sunscreen rated SPF 15 or greater.