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Skin Safety: Sunscreen Matters All the Time

Are the following statements true or false?

  • I can’t get skin cancer, because my normal routine (such as drive to work, hobbies, and vacations) doesn’t include a lot of time outdoors.
  • A sunscreen labeled SPF 15 blocks more UV radiation than one labeled SPF 30.
  • It’s safe to let my children stay in the pool all day if they slip on a T-shirt after a couple hours and reapply sunscreen to their faces, arms, and legs.

If you answered “true” to any of the above, keep reading for important skin safety tips.

  • Use sunscreen all the time—not just on sunny summer days. Although UV rays from sunlight are the greatest during the late spring and early summer, you should protect yourself all year round. UV rays from the sun can reach you on cloudy and hazy days, as well as bright and sunny days. UV rays also reflect off surfaces like water, cement and sand.
  • Stay out of tanning beds. Tanning (using a tanning bed, booth, or sunlamp to get tan) exposes your skin to UV radiation.
  • Stay in the shade, especially during midday hours. The hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. are the most hazardous for UV exposure outdoors in the continental United States.
  • Watch the clock. Be sure to apply sunscreen 20 to 30 minutes before going out; set a reminder on your phone or watch to reapply at least every two hours.
  • Wear protective clothing. Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade your face, head, ears, and neck. Sunglasses should wrap around and block both UVA and UVB rays. Make sure your children are wearing hats and sunglasses as well.
  • Get Vitamin D safely. Rather than sunbathing, you can get a boost of Vitamin D by enhancing your diet. Foods rich in Vitamin D include tuna canned in water, sardines canned in oil, milk or yogurt, beef or calf liver, egg yolks and cheese. You can also take vitamin supplements.
  • Never look directly at the sun, even when wearing sunglasses!
  • Check your skin regularly. Early detection of melanoma can save your life. Carefully examine all of your skin once a month. Any new or changing spots should be evaluated.

The Fund offers medical benefits using the Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield provider network. Regardless of whether you’re enrolled in the Building Trades Plan or the Flexible Choice Plan, when you see a doctor in the PPO network (such as a dermatologist), you’ll save money for you and the Fund. For more information about your medical benefits. To find a network provider, visit www.anthem.com.