Jacksonville (WITN) - Estimates show more than 9,000 people are diagnosed with skin cancer in our country every year. WITN took a closer look at the risks and how you can protect yourself.
With the burn risk, many still say the chance to tan is worth it.
Ashley Sands visits the beach during the summer and says, "I do like tanning because I do like to get a little darker."
The sun does seem to have different impacts on everyone's skin including Haylee Martin who says "I was a life guard for a long time and I've noticed my skin damage."
Some have even felt the pressure to tan saying, "Even though I have very light skin I would say especially since I have very light skin I definitely think there is a pressure."
A pressure that plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Thomas Royj, says can cause major damage.
"Everyone is vulnerable to the sun, everyone is vulnerable to UV exposure." according to Dr. Royj.
UV exposure can happen within minutes according to Dr. Royj, and it can cause serious cancers.
The three most common skin cancers are Basal Cell, Squamos Cell and Melanoma.
While Basal Cell and Squamos Cell Cancers can be usually cured with excision, the most serious type of cancer is melanoma.
Dr. Royj says melanoma is "the least frequent of the skin cancers, but is the most deadly."
You must also protect and check for darker skin as well.
Dr. Rojy says, "In the darker skin populations most people feel that they're protected from the sun so they're not using sunblock and protection. and therefore their cancers are diagnosed later and they're more aggressive."
Any moles that are asymmetrical, very large, have irregular borders, made of different colors, or keep changing in size need to be removed and tested immediately.
Cancer isn't the only risk to all that fun in the sun according to Dr. Royj.
"90% of aging actually comes from UV light" says Royj.
"If you're just going to spend a little bit of time like going out shopping you can use an SPF 15 if you're going to be out in the sun longer you want to use at least an spf 30. Now we want to have broad spectrum which means it covers UVA and UVB light because of those are damaging to the skin."
In addition to sunscreen, wearing long sleeve shirts, broad rimmed hats or washing clothes in a UV laundry aid can help give that protection and Royj says, "Tanning beds arn't safe."
"Tanning beds are are very bad. There's a lot of ultraviolet exposure in the fact there is about twelve times the UVA exposure in a tanning bed versus being outdoors.
"Everyone is vulnerable to the sun, everybody is vulnerable to the UV exposure."
Dr. Rojy recomemends avoiding outdoor activities during the peak hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Our skin does have repair mechanism against aging, but those can wear out over time according to Dr. Rojy.