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Protecting Yourself from Skin Cancer

Some people think about sun protection only when they spend a day at the lake or pool. But sun exposure occurs every time you are in the sun. As you know, getting too much sun can be harmful, and children need special attention because they tend to spend more time outdoors and can burn more easily. Babies younger than 6 months should be kept out of direct sunlight and protected from the sun using hats and protective clothing.

Follow these steps to limit your exposure to UV rays.

  1. Seek shade. An obvious way to limit your exposure to UV light is to avoid being outdoors in direct sunlight too long. This is particularly important between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV light is strongest.
  2. Wear clothing to cover your skin. Clothes provide different levels of UV protection. Long-sleeved shirts, long pants or long skirts cover the most skin and are the most protective.
  3. Use a sunscreen with broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays and with SPF values of 30 or higher. Also, be sure to apply the sunscreen generously, paying close attention to your face, ears, neck, arms and lips.
  4. Wear a hat that protects all areas exposed to the sun, including the ears and neck.
  5. Wear sunglasses that block UV rays. This is important for protecting the skin around the eyes, as well as the eyes themselves.

Additionally, you don’t need X-rays or blood tests to find skin cancer early – just your eyes and a mirror. Checking your skin regularly may help you spot any new or abnormal moles or other growths, allowing you to show them to your doctor before they have a chance to turn into skin cancer. If you have skin cancer, finding it early is the best way to make sure it can be treated successfully.