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Sun exposure is a preventable skin cancer risk factor.
Sun exposure is a preventable skin cancer risk factor. Reduce sun exposure and skin cancer risk with these top tips.
Don't stay out in direct sunlight for too long. The sun's rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. That's the time to stay in the shade. A good rule of thumb: If your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade.
PUT ON A HAT
A hat with a 2- to 3-inch brim all around is a good choice, as is a shade cap (a baseball cap with fabric down the sides and back). Baseball caps and straw hats offer less protection.
Melanoma can develop in the eyes, so choose glasses that block 99% to 100% of ultraviolet (UV) rays and wear them every day. Darker glasses don't necessarily mean more protection—check the label to be sure.
WEAR PROTECTIVE CLOTHING
Cover as much of your skin as possible. Dark colors and tightly woven fabrics offer the most protection. To get an idea of how protective clothing is, hold it up to bright light. If light comes through, the sun's rays can get through too.
TAKE EXTRA CARE NEAR WATER, SNOW AND SAND
All of these surfaces reflect and intensify the sun's damaging rays, increasing your chances of sunburn.
Choose a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more. Apply it generously to all exposed skin before you go outside. Reapply at least every 2 hours and after swimming or sweating. You should follow these rules even when it's cloudy.
USE LIP BALM
Protect your lips by wearing lip balm that contains sunscreen.
SUN EXPOSURE IS AN IMPORTANT RISK FACTOR FOR SKIN CANCER. BUT THERE ARE OTHERS TO KNOW AS WELL.
Sources: American Academy of Dermatology; American Cancer Society
- American Academy of Dermatology Association. "How to Prevent Skin Cancer." https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/skin-cancer/prevent/how.
- American Cancer Society. "Cancer Facts & Figures 2023." https://www.cancer.org/research/cancer-facts-statistics/all-cancer-facts-figures/2023-cancer-facts-figures.html.
- American Cancer Society. "Eye Cancer Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Staging". https://www.cancer.org/cancer/eye-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging.html.
- American Cancer Society. "How Do I Protect Myself From Ultraviolet (UV) Rays?" https://www.cancer.org/healthy/be-safe-in-sun/uv-protection.html.
The information found in the Health Library is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice nor does it represent the views or position of WHMC. Readers should always consult with their healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment, including for specific medical needs.