Skin Protection

How to Protect Your Skin From The Sun

Along with fun in the sun comes serious health risks, which is why it’s important to follow proper steps to reduce your cancer risk.

5 Steps to Protect Your Skin From the Sun

Katherine Kennedy shares 5 simple steps on how to protect your skin from the sun.

How to Keep Your Skin Healthy in the Sun

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.

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.

Best Ways to Protect Your Child From the Sun

Even one severe sunburn during childhood or teenage years can increase the risk of skin cancer later so it is important to protect your children’s skin. Children get nearly a quarter of their lifetime sun exposure before the age of 18. Protecting the skin during the first 18 years of life can reduce the risk of some types of skin cancer by up to 78%.

  • During the summer, do not let children go outdoors without sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) rating of 30 or higher — even on cloudy days.
  • Reapply the sunscreen often, particularly if they go in water.
  • Avoid exposing your children to the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Keep babies, 6 months or younger, out of the sun. Their skin is too sensitive.

Get Screened By a Physician Annually

Skin cancer is the most preventable cancer; therefore, it’s important to have your health care professional examine your skin once a year to stay healthy.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis, and it’s the most preventable cancer. This year, an estimated 68,000 people will be dianosed with melanoma–the most dangerous type of skin cancer–and nearly12,o00 will die of the disease. Every year, as many as two million people are diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer.

That’s why it’s so important to have your health care professional examine your skin once a year, especially after age 50. Also, be sure to conduct a self-exam from head to toe at home at least once a month and report any suspicious skin area, non-healing sore or change in a mole or freckle to your physician.