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Guard Your Skin Against the Summer Sun

HealthDay News
by -- Robert Preidt
Updated: Jun 6th 2019

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THURSDAY, June 6, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Whether you're at the beach, the park or a pool this summer, be sure to protect your skin from the sun's damaging rays.

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, and most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays, according to the American Cancer Society.

"Fortunately, everyone can take action to protect their skin from UV radiation, which comes directly from the sun or man-made sources, like tanning beds," said Dr. Jeffrey Farma. He is a surgical oncologist at Fox Chase Cancer Center, in Philadelphia.

"When skin cancer is caught early, more treatment options are available. The good news is that most skin cancers can be treated effectively and are often curable," Farma said in a center news release.

As part of Skin Cancer Awareness Month in May, Farma offered the following sun protection tips:

  • Seek shade. Especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun is strongest.
  • Wear protective clothing. If light can shine through your clothing, then the sun's UV rays can penetrate as well. Dark colors provide better protection than light ones, as do more tightly knit weaves. Wear UV-blocking sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat to protect your scalp, face and ears.
  • Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen. Select one with an SPF of 30 or higher and apply to unprotected skin, including your face, ears, neck, arms, and use lip balm with sunscreen on your lips. Sunscreen needs to be reapplied at least every two hours to maintain protection, and it's just as important on hazy or overcast days.
  • Never use tanning beds, booths or sunlamps. There is no safe tanning. Exposure to UV radiation damages your skin, whether the exposure is from tanning beds or natural sunlight. Tanning bed use has been linked with an increased risk of melanoma -- the most deadly type of skin cancer -- especially if it's started before age 30.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on reducing skin cancer risk.