How to Keep Your Skin Healthy in the Sun

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On a beautiful sunny day, there’s nothing like being outside and having fun, whether it’s going for a bike ride, taking the kids to the park or heading out for a walk or run. But along with fun in the sun comes serious health risks, including skin cancer and premature aging resulting from exposure to the sun’s powerful ultraviolet rays (both UVA and UVB). Although skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis, it is also the most preventable cancer if you take the proper steps to reduce your risk.

By following these 7 simple tips below, you can enjoy your time outside while protecting your skin from the sun.

  • Avoid the sun, especially between 10 am and 4 pm. This is when the sun’s UV rays are the most harmful.
  • Always use sunscreen and lip balm with UVA and UVB protection with SPF 30 or more, even on cloudy days, since UV rays can pass through clouds.
  • Always apply an ounce of sunscreen—about a palm full—at least 20 minutes before going out in the sun. This will allow the sunscreen to fully bind to your skin.
  • Be sure to reapply sunscreen every two hours and even more frequently if you are sweating heavily or if you go for a swim.
  • Wear sunglasses that have been treated to absorb UV radiation, a wide brim hat and clothing made of tightly woven material with long sleeves.
  • Protect children from the sun. Childhood sunburns may increase the risk of melanoma later in life.
  • Don’t use sun lamps, tanning beds or artificial lights. Any tan is your skin’s response to damaging UV rays which can cause skin cancer.

For more on how to protect your skin from the sun, please watch this video.

Important note about Vitamin D: Recent research on the benefits of vitamin D (made by the skin from sunlight) indicates that just a brief exposure of your face, arms and hands to the sun is sufficient—about 15 minutes a day, three days per week. Talk to your health care professional about Vitamin D and your health.

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