New Mexico Department of Health
Our mission is to promote health and wellness, improve health outcomes, and assure safety net services for all people in New Mexico.
David Morgan
575-528-5197 Office
575-649-0754 Mobile

Reminding New Mexicans to Protect Their Skin

The New Mexico Department of Health reminds New Mexicans to protect their skin from the sun and avoid indoor tanning to lower their skin cancer risk.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Most cases of melanoma, the deadliest kind of skin cancer, are caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light.

The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be 470 new cases of melanoma of the skin in New Mexico in 2014. From 2006-2010 an average of about 60 melanoma deaths occurred per year in New Mexico.

“When you're having fun outdoors, it's easy to forget how important it is to protect yourself from the sun,” said Department of Health Secretary Retta Ward, MPH. “Unprotected skin can be damaged by the sun's UV rays in as little as 15 minutes. Yet it can take as long as 12 hours for skin to show the full effect of sun exposure.”

The hours between 10am and 4pm are the most hazardous for UV exposure outdoors not just here in New Mexico but also the entire continental United States. UV rays from sunlight are the greatest right now during the late spring and throughout the summer.

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 of surfaces like cement, sand, and water. Indoor tanning (using a tanning bed, booth, or sunlamp to get tan) exposes you to UV radiation, too.

The New Mexico Department of Health and the CDC recommend the following easy ways to protect yourself and your loved ones from UV radiation:

For more information on melanoma and other types of cancers, visit the Comprehensive Cancer Control section of our website.

Media Contact

We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact David Morgan at 575-528-5197 (Office) or 575-649-0754 (Mobile) with your questions.