Without question, the best way to lower the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer is to avoid long exposure to intense sunlight. You can still enjoy the outdoors while using sun safety at the same time. Here are some ways to be sun safe while enjoying outdoor activities:
- Avoid the sun between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
- Seek shade: Look for shade, especially in the middle of the day when the sun’s rays are strongest.
- Wear protective clothing: Cover up with protective clothing to guard as much skin as possible when you are out on a sunny day. Choose comfortable clothes made of tightly-woven fabrics that you cannot see through when held up to a light.
- Slather on the SPF: Use sunscreen and lip balm with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Apply a generous amount of sunscreen (enough to fill your palm), reapply every two hours and after swimming, toweling dry or sweating. Use sunscreen even on hazy or overcast days.
- Wear a hat: Cover your head with a wide-brimmed hat, shading your face, ears and neck. If you choose a baseball cap, remember to protect your ears and neck with sunscreen.
- Don’t forget the sunglasses: Wear sunglasses with 99 to 100 percent ultraviolet (UV) absorption to provide optimal protection for your eyes and the surrounding skin.
It is important to remember to follow these practices even on cloudy or overcast days. UV rays travel through clouds. Avoid other sources of UV light, including tanning beds and sun lamps. They also pose a serious risk to your skin.