Sun Safety Awareness on National Don’t Fry Day

a boy with a sun on his back

With the end of the school year approaching, many will be making plans for spending time outdoors this Summer. As Friday marks National Don’t Fry Day, it’s important to think about Sun Safety Awareness. When we have the latest updated information, it will help us all in keeping ourselves and family safe from not only that painful sunburn but the long-term effects as well.

A dozen U.S. cities are expected to have extreme ultraviolet (UV) index ratings (10+) this Memorial Day and throughout the summer, according to 2022 data from the National Weather Service, making sun protection especially important for all residents and visitors. National Don’t Fry Day, the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, encourages sun-safety awareness and serves as a reminder to protect skin from the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays.

The UV index measures the amount of skin-damaging UV rays reaching the Earth’s surface when the sun is highest in the sky, serving as a helpful tool in preventing overexposure to the sun’s rays. The UV index changes seasonally and can range from 0 (nighttime) to 15-16. The higher the number, the greater the exposure to skin and eye-damaging UV radiation.

  • 0-2: No to minimal sun protection needed
  • 3-7: Moderate to high protection needed – seeking shade during late morning through mid-afternoon; generously applying broad-spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen on exposed skin; wearing protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses
  • 8+: Very high to extreme protection needed – seeking shade; generously applying broad-spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen on exposed skin; wearing protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses

The dangers of UV rays, including premature skin aging and skin cancer, are clear and universally recognized. According to the American Cancer Society, more than five million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer each year – more than all other types of cancer combined. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, and 20 Americans die from melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer – every day, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

“Skin cancer is a significant and largely preventable public health concern,” said Patti Farris, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist with over 35 years of experience in research, aesthetics and clinical practice. “When going outdoors, especially when the UV index is high, individuals need sun protection to minimize their risk for skin cancer. That can be a hat and protective clothing, and broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30 for skin exposed to the sun is a must.”

While skin cancer is one of the most common cancers, it is also preventable. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), four out of five cases can be prevented by following safe-sun practices, including limiting time in the sun, seeking shade, wearing protective clothing and using sunscreens regularly.

Sunscreens are important tools for preventing and reducing the risk of skin cancer and UV-induced skin damage and should be part of your daily health and safety routine, just like brushing your teeth or using a seat belt,” said Alexandra Kowcz, chief scientist, Personal Care Products Council. “Our industry provides consumers with safe and innovative sunscreen products to help protect them and their families from the harmful effects of the sun.”

The U.S. cities with the highest average UV index in 2022 were:

  1. Honolulu, Hawaii (11.8)
  2. Miami, Fla. (11.5)
  3. San Juan, Puerto Rico (11.5)
  4. Albuquerque, N.M. (11)
  5. New Orleans, La. (10.8)
  6. Phoenix, Ariz. (10.7)
  7. Tampa, Fla. (10.5)
  8. Mobile, Ala. (10.3)
  9. Jackson, Miss. (10.2)
  10. Cheyenne, Wyo. (10)
  11. Denver, Colo. (10)
  12. Los Angeles, Calif. (10)

For more information about the UV index and the importance of practicing sun safety, including using broad-spectrum sunscreen, visit PCPC’s website.

You may also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.