Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can damage your skin in as few as 15 minutes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Stay safe by protecting yourself and your loved ones when you head outdoors.

The sun plays an important part in our lives, especially during the summertime. Sunlight tends to make us more active, provides us with vital vitamin D and can lift our moods. However, too much sun exposure can raise one’s risk for serious health issues, such as premature skin aging, eye damage, a weakened immune system and skin cancer.

While largely preventable, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Most of these cancers are a result of overexposure to the sun’s UV rays.

Tips for Sun Safety

Early detection and prevention are the best ways to combat skin cancer. Consider these pointers to avoid increased risk:

  • When possible, wear protective, loose-fitting clothing, such as long pants and long-sleeve shirts. Also, wear a wide-brim hat and 100 percent UV protection sunglasses to safeguard your head and eyes.
  • To protect exposed skin, apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) rating of 15 or higher about every two hours. Choose a “broad spectrum” sunscreen to protect your skin from ultraviolet A (long wavelength) and ultraviolet B (short wavelength) rays. Use waterproof sunscreen if you plan to swim or expect you will perspire heavily.
  • Seek the shade whenever possible, but especially during the peak sunlight hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., even on cloudy days and in the wintertime. Check the daily UV Index forecast issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and plan accordingly.
  • Examine your skin monthly and get a professional examination once a year to check for any new growths.