Skin cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer worldwide. 20 percent of all Americans will contract some form of skin cancer before the age of 70 — and every day, 50 will succumb to the condition. 90 percent of skin cancers re brought about by exposure to ultraviolet radiation and sun damage. You might be taking precautions when going out into the sun. However, the most dangerous forms of sun damage are the ones you aren’t aware of.
Under Cloudy Skies
Overcast skies are no protection from ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Clouds only partially block UVB while letting UVA pass through almost unimpeded. UVB typically causes reddening and sunburn, and cloudy skies will give a sense of safety because the heat from the sun isn’t so intense. However, you are still exposed to high levels of more dangerous UVA radiation. UVA damages your skin from the inside. You might not feel the burn; however, UVA damages your skin by changing its DNA. Make sure to cover up regardless of clear or cloudy skies. Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, or bring an umbrella when the UV index is high. Sunblock is excellent, but it requires a constant application. A daily regimen of sunblock every two hours is impossible. Stick to protective clothing and add a stylish hat.
In Your Own Home
If you think you’re safe at home, you’re not. Large glass windows in your house let UV in, and the constant barrage of radiation can even be seen in your furnishings — especially your countertops. If constant exposure to UV can discolor your quartz or granite, imagine what it does to your body. Thick curtains can certainly keep UV out, but they also make your house look dark and gloomy. Smart windows allow you to control the amount of sunlight that enters your home by turning transparent or opaque. However, they can be costly, and they provide little to no protection when they’re clear.
The best option is also one of the simplest: solar window films or UV-filtering film. Unlike heavy drapes or smart glass, UV film allows light in a while keeping out UV radiation. They can block 99 percent of UV, and they won’t make your house appear dark. Residential installation for these films typically needs less than a day, or you could even do it yourself.
Driving to Work
Your daily commutes might not last 30 minutes. However, that short period still exposes you to UV. Constant exposure from your daily drives accumulates damage, particularly on the exposed left side of your body. Your car’s windshield has adequate UV protection (which protects most of your body), but your car’s windows do not. A quick drive to the shop and some UV film should solve the problem. Automotive UV film comes in many shades, so it can be as clear or as tinted as you want it to be.
Often, the most dangerous threat are ones you don’t see coming. Sun damage and skin cancers can be avoided as long as you don’t take the sun for granted.