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When most people think of sun exposure, they think of tropical vacations or summertime fun in the sun. A better and safer way to think about sun exposure is not in terms of the activity we are doing or the time of the year but in terms of the kind of sun exposure - intense and incidental.
Intense sun exposure is a pattern of concentrated exposure to UV rays that damage the skin. Intense sun exposure can be both a consistent exposure to the sun from being in the sun all day as well as an intermittent exposure to the sun from being in the sun from time to time throughout the day. For example, after spending months indoors, you might receive several days of intense exposure to the sun over a Christmas time vacation to Hawaii. Important to note, if you had one intense, blistering sunburn in childhood or just five sunburns at any age, you have doubled your chances of getting melanoma. Intense sun exposure facts to be concerned by that are cited by the Skin Cancer Foundation include:
Incidental sun exposure is the exposure to the sun that you are not even aware of. Incidental sun exposure accumulates over your lifetime from every day activities in which you are in the sun. Such activities include walking your dog, sitting at a bus stop, and even walking to and from your car. Long term incidental sun exposure causes squamous cell carcinoma which is the second most popular type of skin cancer. Incidental sun exposure also leads to basal cell carcinoma which occurs on the face, neck, ears, head, shoulders, and back. Though basal cell carcinoma is typically not fatal, it can be disfiguring if not treated. Incidental sun exposure facts to be concerned by that are cited by the Skin Cancer Foundation include:
People of all skin colors, types and ages, especially new born babies and children, are at risk from intense and incidental sun exposure. Helpful tips for sun protection include: