Some sun exposure definitely has its benefits—it increases vitamin D levels in the body and helps ward off insomnia and depression. But too much of it can trigger skin cancer, cataracts, wrinkles, sagging skin, and age spots.
The American Academy of Dermatology predicts more than 1 million new cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year, and an estimated one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in his or her lifetime.
Melanoma is the most common form of cancer among young adults aged 25-29 years. It is more common in females aged 15-29 than males. Skin cancer often develops on the torso.
Experts feel that some people are still not taking the skin cancer warning seriously and ignoring the dangers of the sun's ultraviolet rays to the skin.
Says Daniel Yarosh, author of The New Science of Perfect Skin
(Broadway, $23.95) and a skin-care expert who has developed products for Estée Lauder and L'Oréal, "We have to do more. How much closer can it hit you if you have someone in your family who has skin cancer? We have to heed the warnings."
Though sunscreen can help reverse sun damage and prevent skin cancer, according to Yarosh, most people don't apply enough to adequately shield their skin from the sun's dangerous UV rays.
"People put on so little they only get half of the benefits of SPF. So when they use an SPF 60, they are actually only getting the benefits of SPF 30," he said. "They should put on twice as much as they are used to using."
Protective clothing like long sleeve shirts, full pants, wide-brim hats and sunglasses offer added protection.
According to the dermatology academy, tanning beds increase the risk of skin cancer because the lamps emit UVA and UVB radiation at levels that are often stronger than the sun and from closer distances.