How can I protect myself from the sun to reduce my risk of skin cancer?

Use sunscreen to prevent skin cancer. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) to your face and exposed body areas 30 minutes before you go outdoors. Use enough to fill at least two shot glasses. Reapply every two hours and after swimming or when you are sweating heavily. Also, cover up with a hat, long sleeves, and sunglasses whenever you spend an extended period of time outdoors. Even in warm weather, you'll stay cooler and more comfortable if your skin is shaded with light-colored, breathable fabrics. Minimize your sun exposure by scheduling outdoor activities in the early morning or late afternoon. Avoid spending too much time in the sun during peak hours (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

Following are tips to help protect you from the sun:
  • Use sun protection at all times. Even on overcast days, up to 60% of the sun's rays penetrate cloud cover, and 85% of the sun's rays reflect off of sand, water, and concrete.
  • Minimize sun exposure from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the sun's strongest hours.
  • Omit outdoor activity when the ultraviolet (UV) index, published in many newspapers, is 7 or higher.
  • Sunscreen should be used for sun protection and not as a reason to stay in the sun longer.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.