As temperatures start to rise and you spend more time outdoors, it's important to protect yourself from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Harmful conditions like sunburns are common, but extended exposure to the sun is the primary cause of over 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancer.
Keep these skin protection tips in mind:
- Take extra care before going out in the sun if your family has a history of skin cancer.
- Try to stay out of the sun when your shadow is shorter that you are, usually between 10 AM and 2 PM. During these times the sun is directly overhead, allowing more UV rays to reach your skin.
- Wear clothing that blocks UV rays, such as hats, sunglasses and tightly knit, lightly colored clothing.
- Apply sunscreen to any exposed skin before you go outside. A sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher is best, but using a broad-spectrum sunscreen will protect you from both types of UV rays.
- Make sure to reapply sunscreen every two to three hours, as needed. If you're at a high altitude, in a humid environment, sweating or swimming, you may need to reapply sunscreen more frequently.
- Monitor children who are outdoors in the sun. Experts believe that about 80 percent of an average person's total sun exposure takes places before the age of 18.