What to pack for your Memorial Day weekend getaway: Skin protection edition

May 24, 2017

By Cassie Smith

Are you one of the millions of Americans heading to the beach for Memorial Day weekend? For many, the first getaway of the summer often results in sunburn. Not only can sunburns be painful, but frequent sunburns—especially during childhood—are a major risk factor for melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. An estimated 87,110 Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma this year.

The Prevent Cancer Foundation® has partnered with the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention and other organizations to observe “Don’t Fry Day” the Friday before Memorial Day to encourage sun safety this summer and throughout the year.

Use this checklist to make sure your family packs the essentials to protect your skin on your next vacation.

  • Sunscreen. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30. You’ll want to pack a large bottle for the family since you should apply a palm-full 20 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours.
  • Sun-protective clothing. Covering up is a great way to stay protected, but some fabrics are more effective than others. Ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) labels can help you determine clothing that is most effective against the sun’s rays, on a scale from 15-50+ (higher numbers indicate better protection). Tightly-woven fabrics (like denim) will provide better protection than those that are more loosely-woven (like cotton). Brighter colors also provide more protection than white or lighter-colored clothing. Check out this post from the Skin Cancer Foundation for a more detailed look at sun-safe clothing.
  • Wide-brimmed hat. Not only is it stylish, a hat with a wide brim can help protect your scalp as well as your face, ears and shoulders.
  • Sunglasses. Wear sunglasses that have been treated to absorb UV radiation.
  • Lip balm. Be sure your whole family uses lip balm that has UVB and UVA protection.
  • Umbrella or tent. Ideally you should avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the rays are strongest. If that’s not possible, be sure to pack (or rent) an umbrella or tent to shield your family from the sun.

To learn more about sun safety and skin cancer, visit our skin cancer page. Have a fun and safe Memorial Day weekend!

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