Sunday is the first day of summer!

Spending time outside is a great way to be active, lose some stress and get Vitamin D. You can work and play outside without raising your skin cancer risk by protecting your skin from the sun.

Put a thick layer of sunscreen on all exposed skin.

Most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. UV rays are invisible and come from the sun, tanning beds and sunlamps. UV rays can damage skin cells.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S. Too much sun can cause skin cancer. Here’s a very helpful CDC video that explains how to protect your skin from the sun.

Protection from UV rays is important all year, not just during the summer. UV rays can reach you on cloudy and cool days. And they reflect off surfaces like water, cement, sand and snow. In the continental United States, UV rays tend to be strongest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Did you know you can search for the strength of UV rays in your area each day? If the UV index is 3 or higher in your area, protect your skin from too much exposure to the sun.

Protect your skin from too much sun

Shade

Reduce your risk of skin cancer by staying in the shade under an umbrella, tree or other shelter. Your best bet to protect your skin is to use sunscreen or wear protective clothing when you’re outside, even when you’re in the shade.

Clothing

When possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants and skirts, which can provide protection from UV rays. If not practical, wear a T-shirt or a beach cover-up. Clothes made from tightly woven fabric offer the best protection.

Hat

Wear a hat that has a brim all the way around that shades your face, ears and the back of your neck. A tightly woven fabric like canvas works best to protect your skin from UV rays.

Your summer hat should have a brim all the way around that shades your face, ears, and your neck.

If you wear a baseball cap, you should also protect your ears and the back of your neck by wearing clothing that covers those areas, using sunscreen, or staying in the shade.

Sunglasses and sunscreen

Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts. They also protect the tender skin around your eyes from sun exposure.

Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays offer the best protection. Wrap-around sunglasses work best because they block UV rays from sneaking in from the side.

“Sunscreen isn’t an all-protective force field,” says a blog post from the CDC. “It is intended to be combined with other sun-safety approaches.” Get The Truth About Sunscreen in this blog post.

Use broad spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays and has an SPF of 15 or higher before you go outside. Don’t forget to put a thick layer on all exposed skin.

Sunscreen is not recommended for babies who are 6 months old or younger. The FDA recommends keeping infants out of the sun during midday and using protective clothing if they have to be in the sun.

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Published on Jun. 16, 2021

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