Sun Safety 101.

It feels good to bask in the sun. But it's important to protect your skin when you’re outdoors, too. After all, the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays are the #1 cause of skin cancer. And did you know that skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States? Well, now you do.

And here’s a beauty alert. Too much exposure can also cause sunburn, eye damage and premature wrinkles. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, an estimated 90 percent of skin aging is caused by the sun. But if you shield your skin with clothing and a broad-spectrum sunscreen, you’ll help prevent premature aging and lower your risk of skin cancer.

How can you be sun-safe?

Cover up.

When you’re in the sun, you need protection. Clothing is your first line of defense against the sun’s harmful UV rays. The more skin you cover, the better. Choose long-sleeved shirts and pants. Wear a wide-brimmed hat. And protect your eyes with sunglasses that block at least 99% of UV light.

Go broad.

Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Reapply at least every 2 hours – and even more if you’re swimming or sweating. While you should use sunscreen every day of the year, it’s even more important during the summer when the days are longer and the sun is stronger.

Seek Shade.

Limit your direct exposure to the sun, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when UV rays are the strongest. Reduce your risk of skin damage and skin cancer by seeking shade under an umbrella, tree, or other form of shelter.

Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps.

Both are a source of ultraviolet rays, which can cause serious long-term skin damage and contribute to skin cancer. More people develop skin cancer because of indoor tanning than develop lung cancer because of smoking.


The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes. That’s an important number to keep in mind when you’re doing your best to be sun-safe.