How to protect yourself from the sun

| June 3, 2021
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Note: This post was adapted from information originally published at

The best way to protect yourself against the damaging effects of the sun is to limit exposure and protect your skin. Follow these tips from the American Academy of Dermatology:

  • Generously apply a broad-spectrum water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 30 to all exposed skin. Broad spectrum means the sunscreen protects you from both UVA and UVB rays. Re-apply about every 2 hours and after swimming or sweating.
  • Wear protective clothing such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses, whenever possible. Look for clothing with a UV protection factor (UPF) or made of a tightly woven fabric.
  • Seek shade when appropriate. Remember that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade.
  • Use extra caution near water, snow, sand, and pavement. These surfaces reflect the damaging rays of the sun and can increase your chances of sunburn. Sand and pavement reflect UV rays even while under an umbrella.
  • Get vitamin D through a healthy diet that may include vitamin supplements.
  • Do not use tanning beds. Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds can cause skin cancer and wrinkling. If you want to look tan, try using a self-tanning product. But also use sunscreen with it.
  • Protect your lips with lip balm with at least SPF 15.
  • Examine your entire skin on a regular basis. If you notice anything changing, growing, or bleeding on your skin, see a healthcare provider right away. Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early.
  • Buy protective eyewear for you and your children. Choose sunglasses with labels stating they provide UV protection.
  • Remember that many over-the-counter and prescription medicines increase the skin’s sensitivity to UV rays. So it’s possible to develop a severe sunburn in just minutes when taking certain medicines. Read medicine labels carefully and use extra sunscreen as needed.