How to Protect Your Skin from Sunlight

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Woman applying sunscreen

Did you know that sunburns and even suntans may increase your chance of skin cancer?

Try to limit your time in the sun, and seek shade when you can. When you must be in the sun, choose clothing that covers your skin and wear sunscreen.

When used correctly, sunscreen products may help prevent some skin cancers, including melanoma.

Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen product that filters both UVB radiation and UVA radiation, and wear clothing that protects your skin.

Follow these tips for protecting your skin from sunlight:

Man applying sunscreen
  • Use sunscreen products with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. (Some doctors suggest using a product with an SPF of at least 30.) Apply the product’s recommended amount to uncovered skin 30 minutes before going outside, and apply again every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim all around that shades your face, neck, and ears. Baseball caps and some sun visors protect only parts of your skin.
  • Wear sunglasses that block UV radiation to protect the skin around your eyes.
  • Wear long sleeves and long pants. Tightly woven, dark fabrics are best. Some fabrics are rated with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF). The higher the rating, the greater the protection from sunlight.

Keep in mind that the sun's rays ....

  • Are strongest between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
  • Can go through light clothing, windshields, windows, and clouds
  • Are reflected by sand, water, snow, ice, and pavement