Sun Protection

Skin Cancer Statistics

  • In 2012, More than 5.4 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer were treated in over 3.3 million people in the U.S.1
  • More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined.2
  • One in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70.3
  • Actinic keratosis is the most common pre-cancer; it affects more than 58 million Americans.4
  • Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer. An estimated 4.3 million cases of BCC are diagnosed in the U.S. each year.1
  • Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer. More than 1 million cases of SCC are diagnosed in the U.S. each year,1 resulting in more than 15,000 deaths.5
  • One person dies of melanoma every hour.2
  • On average, a person's risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns.6
  • Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a proven human carcinogen.7
  • An estimated 90 percent of skin aging is caused by the sun.8
  • Basal cell carcinoma is the most common cancer in Caucasians, Hispanics, Chinese Asians and the Japanese.9
  • Skin cancer accounts for at least 40% of all human malignancies.10


  • The sunlight that reaches our skin is made up of two types of harmful rays: long wave ultraviolet A (UVA) and short wave ultraviolet B (UVB).

  • UVB rays cause sunburn, redness and skin cancer and have more intensity during the hours of 10am to 4pm. It tends to damage the more superficial skin layers.

  • UVA rays account for up to 95 percent of the UV radiation reaching the Earth's surface. Although they are less intense than UVB, UVA rays are 30 to 50 times more prevalent. They are present with relatively equal intensity during all daylight hours and can even pass through car windows. UVA rays are always present, regardless of weather conditions (i.e. sunny, rainy or cloudy days).

  • UVA rays penetrate deep into the dermis, the skin’s thickest layer. These rays play a role in skin cancer formation and premature skin aging, including wrinkle formation. Although you may not notice the damaging effects of UVA, your skin is constantly absorbing these rays and causing DNA mutations in skin cells, which can lead to one of many forms of skin cancer.

  • Have you ever gone skiing and left with a sunburn?

  • UVA rays are shining year round, Summer or Winter, so you should consider sun protection year round. 

  • The absorption of sunlight by your skin triggers free radical damage to skin cells. This damage can manifest as a sunburn or it can damage the DNA of the individual skin cell. Repeated sun exposure with repeated sun damage can increase your chances of developing skin cancer. The absorption of sunlight in your skin can also cause immunosuppression. Over time, continued sun exposure can break down collagen and elastin in your skin. As a result, signs of wrinkles, sunspots and aging of the skin begin to show.   

Common Misconceptions About Sun Protection

  • Sunscreen works all day
    • Current sunscreens only work for 2.5 to 3 hours and most people forget to reapply. Most people don’t wear enough, miss areas, nor use the right quantity. Sunscreen wears off when swimming or sweating causing sun rays to eventually penetrate.
  • Sun damage is reversible
    • Sun damage is cumulative, meaning all of the sun you receive in your lifetime adds up. This damage is irreversible and is the most significant cause of pigmentation, wrinkles, skin cancer and skin aging.
  • SPF also includes UVA
    • SPF stands for sun protection factor. Sunscreens are classified by an SPF number which refers to their ability to deflect UVB rays. SPF ONLY suggests UVB protection and does NOT address its benefits against UVA. 


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