Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S., but is largely preventable by reducing exposure to the sun. Be sure to stay out of the sun between 10 am and 4 pm, cover up with a hat or long sleeves, and use plenty of sunscreen. Surveys show that most Americans don’t use sunscreen correctly. Some tips for use:
Use sunscreen with SPF 30 or above. Look for sunscreens with “broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection” and that are “PABA-free.”
Make sure you apply enough over the whole body. Use about 1 ounce of sunscreen to cover an average adult. Most sunscreens come in 4 to 8 ounce bottles, so use 1/4th to 1/8th of the bottle.
Apply it evenly. Don’t forget about your lips, ears, feet, hands, bald spots, back of the neck, or under straps, jewelry, and sunglasses.
Put on sunscreen 20-30 minutes before you go into the sun. Most sunscreens work by reacting chemically with your skin and need time to absorb.
Reapply! Sunscreens wear off after about 2 hours. If you are swimming or sweating, you need to reapply more often. Use water- resistant or sweat-proof sunscreens that are less likely to rub off.
Children need to be protected from the sun. Be sure to apply and reapply often. Babies should be kept out of all direct sunlight.
Remember, using sunscreen does not mean that you can spend more time in the sun! Try to limit your exposure to stay protected.
UI Cancer Information Services