Sun Safety Tips

Author: OncoLink
Last Reviewed: May 02, 2023

Being sun-safe does not mean you need to hibernate inside all year! Follow these tips to be safe in the sun and reduce your risk of skin cancer:

  • Sunscreen should not be your first line of defense- think sun avoidance and limiting your skin’s exposure to the sun’s rays.
  • Do not use tanning salons, lamps, or beds as this UV exposure has proven to be particularly dangerous.
  • Avoid sun exposure during peak hours, which are 10 am-4 pm.
  • When you are outdoors, seek shady spots.
  • Wear protective clothing, including long-sleeved shirts, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses. You can choose clothing with built-in SPF or use a product to add SPF to clothes in the laundry.
  • When choosing clothing, remember that a darker color and tighter weave provide more protection. An ordinary white T-shirt has an SPF of only 3!
  • Don’t forget your eyes. Protect your eyes with sunglasses that have UV filtering. Sun damage to the eyes can lead to early cataracts.
  • Choose a sunscreen that is "broad spectrum" meaning that it blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater every day. Sunscreen use is especially important for children because sunburns during childhood greatly increase the risk of melanoma in adulthood.
  • Apply sunscreen liberally. An average adult needs at least 2 tablespoons of sunscreen to get good coverage and most people do not use enough. If your bottle of sunscreen lasts more than a few months, you probably aren’t using enough!
  • Check the expiration date on your sunscreen. If there is no expiration date, most sunscreens have a shelf life of 3 years or less.
  • Don’t forget to protect your lips, neck, and ears with SPF, as these are common sites of skin cancer due to lack of protection. If you have thinning hair or are bald, wear a hat to protect your scalp.
  • Reapply after swimming or sweating, as no sunscreen is truly waterproof.
  • Young babies should be kept out of the sun entirely. Use sunscreen on babies over 6 months of age.
  • Check your skin regularly for any changes in moles or development of new moles and report these to your healthcare provider.

Remember to practice sun safety ALL year long! Learn more about sun safety on OncoLink.

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