Skin Cancer

Lifestyle & Management

The following are ways you can reduce your risk of skin cancer.

Reduce Sun Exposure

The most important thing to remember is to stay out of the sun as much as possible.
Avoid the midday sun (between 10AM to 2PM), and try to stay in shady areas if you can. Be aware of your local ultraviolet (UV) index for the day. This is often mentioned on weather reports, in the local newspapers, or online at the Environmental Protection Agency’s website. A higher UV index means you have a greater chance for sunburn.

Cover Up

Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants or a long skirt, and a broad-brimmed (at least 2-3 inches) sunhat when you go out. Special “shade” hats are available that look like baseball caps with extra hanging fabric to protect the sides and back of your neck. Dark colors and tightly woven fabrics provide the best protection. Some new fabrics are specially designed to screen UV radiation and will list an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) on their labels. Sunglasses will also protect your eyes from UV radiation, which causes cataracts in older people.

Use Sunscreen

Use an abundant amount of good sunscreen (SPF of 30 or higher) and lip balm with sunscreen during the day. Apply the sunblock 30 minutes before sun exposure. You should use sunscreen even when the weather is cloudy, especially if you will be out between the hours of 10AM and 4 PM. The higher the SPF value, the longer you can safely stay outdoors before needing to reapply sunscreen.

If you sweat profusely, or if you go swimming, reapply the sunscreen one hour later. However, in general, it is a good idea to reapply sunscreen every couple of hours in hot weather or after swimming.

Avoid Tanning Salons and Sunlamps

These emit UVA and UVB wavelengths, and therefore can have the same damaging effects as direct sunlight.


Last Updated August 2020