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How to stay safe while in the sun

Whether you’re gardening, getting some exercise or playing with your family in your backyard, it is important to protect your skin.


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With warmer weather comes the yearning to enjoy fresh air and sunshine. Whether you’re gardening, getting some exercise or playing with your family in your backyard, it is important to protect your skin. Be sure to love your skin as much as you love your adventures outside.

Getting a sunburn just once every two years can triple your risk of melanoma — a serious form of skin cancer.1 Protecting your skin is as important in the sun as it is on cloudy days. Follow these safety tips to help you stay sun safe, so you can enjoy time outdoors.

  • Sunscreen: There are many varieties of sunscreen in different application styles with different levels of protection. Some are resistant to water. Your sunscreen should be broad-spectrum with SPF 30 or higher and should be reapplied at least every two hours (more often if sweating or swimming).
  • Lip Balm: Did you know lip balms can have SPF protection, too? The bottom lip is a common cancer spot. Be sure not to neglect your lips during your adventure outdoors.
  • Head: From the top of your head to the tips of your ears, your head is full of sensitive places for the sun to wreak havoc. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat (at least a 2- to 3-inch brim) and UV-blocking sunglasses will help keep you covered.
  • Clothes: Be sure to wear clothing that helps protect you from the sun. Remember, the sun’s rays penetrate sheer fabric. Sun-protective fabric with an ultra-violet protection factor (UPF) rating of at least 15 is considered “good” protection, according to the Environmental Working Group,2 while the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends wearing clothing with a UPF of 30 or higher.3 Discover what kind of clothing helps block UV rays with the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Dress to Protect: 5 Things that Affect How Well Your Clothes Block UV Rays article. 

What to do to protect your skin

Timing: According to the American Cancer Society, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. is when UV rays are at their strongest.4 You should try to reduce your time outside when the sun is at its peak. So, garden in the morning or evening, and walk the dog early or late in the day. The timing of your outdoor activity helps to protect your skin from harmful UV rays and to keep your body from overheating as the temperature climbs.

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  1. Cancer Research UK. How does the sun and UV cause cancer?  June 4, 2021. Accessed July 16, 2021.
  2. Environmental Working Group. Out all day? Wear a loud shirt.  Accessed July 16, 2021.
  3. Skin Cancer Foundation. Sun-Protective Clothing: A Safe, Simple Way to Keep the Rays at Bay. June 2019. Accessed July 16, 2021.
  4. American Cancer Society. How Do I Protect Myself from Ultraviolet (UV) Rays? July 23, 2019. Accessed July 16, 2021.