When you're having fun outdoors, it's easy to forget how important it is to protect yourself from the sun. Unprotected skin can be damaged by the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays in as little as 15 minutes. Yet it can take up to 12 hours for skin to show the full effect of sun exposure.
Tan? There's no other way to say it—tanned skin is damaged skin. Any change in the color of your skin after time outside—whether sunburn or suntan—indicates damage from UV rays. Using a tanning bed causes damage to your skin, just like the sun.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The two most common types, called basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, are highly curable. But melanoma, the third most common skin cancer, is more dangerous.
Anyone can get skin cancer, but some things put you at higher risk, like having—
Take precautions against sun exposure every day of the year, especially during midday hours (10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.), when UV rays are strongest and do the most damage. UV rays can reach you on cloudy days, and can reflect off of surfaces like water, cement, sand, and snow.
CDC is leading an effort to produce a journal supplement about melanoma in the United States. Several articles will describe patterns of melanoma. Other articles will focus on how melanoma can be prevented. Participants include partners from the state cancer registries, the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, and academic centers.
CDC is an advisory member of the National Council for Skin Cancer Prevention
CDC released the Sun Safety for America's Youth Toolkitto help local comprehensive cancer control programs engage schools and other education partners in sun safety efforts. Since the majority of sun exposure occurs during childhood and early adulthood, addressing sun safety for young people is an important cancer control objective.