Don’t Fry, Don’t Burn, Don’t Tan

Some of the worst sunburns are acquired on a hazy day.  Many people mistakenly assume that if it’s cool or cloudy outdoors they won’t get burned.  They don’t realize that while clouds might block the heat (infrared) energy, the sun’s skin-damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays can still penetrate through quite strongly. These skin-damaging UV rays can also penetrate though your truck’s windows, making you susceptible to skin damage.

Probably the most common cause of sunburn is accidental overexposure.  Forgetting to apply or re-apply sunscreen or underestimating how quickly your skin will burn are a few typical mistakes.  There may be no signs or symptoms while the overexposure is occurring and it usually takes a few hours following the exposure before the skin becomes red or tender.  If you stay in the sun until your skin turns red, it may already be very severely damaged by that time.

What You Can Do to Be Safe in the Sun:

  1. Do Not Burn
    Overexposure to the sun is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer.
  2. Avoid Sun Tanning and Tanning Beds
    Ultraviolet (UV) light from tanning beds and the sun causes skin cancer and wrinkling. If you want to look like you’ve been in the sun, use a sunless self-tanning product instead.
  3. Cover Up
    Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses, where possible.
  4. Seek Shade/Use Umbrellas
    Seek shade when appropriate.  Remember that the sun’s UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  5. Generously Apply Sunscreen
    Generously apply sunscreen to all exposed skin using a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30 that provides broad-spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Reapply every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.
  6. Use Extra Caution Near Water, Snow and Sand
    Water, snow and sand reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.
  7. Check the UV Index
    The UV Index provides important information to help you plan your outdoor activities in ways that prevent overexposure to the sun. Developed by the National Weather Service (NWS) and EPA, you can find the UV Index for your area online at:
  8. Get Vitamin D Safely
    Get vitamin D safely through a diet that includes vitamin supplements and foods fortified with vitamin D. Don’t seek the sun or indoor tanning.

About Don’t Fry Day

The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention has designated the Friday before Memorial Day as “Don’t Fry Day” to raise awareness of skin cancer prevention and to encourage everyone to protect their skin as they head outdoors to kick off the summer season. The National Council is the united voice of 45 organizations, associations, and agencies dedicated to skin cancer prevention in the United States.

Additional Resources

  • Visit Don’t Fry Day  for facts and sun safety action steps.
  • Skin Cancer fact sheet including statistics on diagnosis rates, prevention tips, and other useful facts.
  • Protecting Your Eyes From Radiation discusses how exposure can harm your eyes, tips for selecting sunglasses, and how to know if you could be at higher risk for harm
    to the eyes from UV radiation.
  • About Sunburn provides answers to questions about sunburns and why it is so important to prevent them.
  • UV Index – U.S. EPA SunWise provides the daily and extended UV Index forecast in your area. The UV Index indicates the strength of solar UV radiation on a scale from 1 (low) to 11+ (extremely high).

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