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Four tips to safely enjoy the sun

A young woman rubs sunscreen on her shoulder.

Protect yourself and loved ones from the sun's damaging effects this summer by following these four tips.

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Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States with one in five Americans developing skin cancer in his or her lifetime. It is also the most preventable form of cancer.

After a long, cold Minnesota winter, basking in the sun is more tempting than ever. Dermatologist Sanober Amin, MD, PhD, recommends following these four tips to minimize the sun's dangerous effects on your skin and make the most of the upcoming Minnesota summer.

  1. Seek the shade. Reduce your risk for sunburn by staying out of the sun when the sun’s rays are the strongest, between 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. The likelihood of getting a sunburn during these hours is greatly increased. Even one sunburn can put you at risk of skin cancer. If you are outside during these times, carry a sun umbrella or spend time under a pavilion roof or shady tree.
  2. Use sunscreen. If you are in the sun, cover up with clothing, including a hat and sunglasses. Apply sunscreen every two hours on exposed skin if you’re in direct sunlight. Clothing is one of the best ways to protect your skin from harsh rays without having to constantly reapply sunscreen.
  3. Avoid tanning and tanning booths. A tan may look nice, but isn’t good for your skin in the long run. Whether you’re at a beach or in a tanning booth, the UV exposure is damaging and aging your skin. Try the safer spray or lotion tan alternatives.
  4. Check your skin. Once a month, do a head-to-toe assessment of your body, looking for any changes in your skin. A yearly checkup with your doctor is the best way to ensure your skin is healthy, especially if you have risk factors including fair skin, history of burns or personal or family history of skin cancer.

Talk to your primary care provider if you have concerns about your skin health. Use the convenient find a provider tool to find a dermatologist in your area.

Source: Sanober Amin, MD, PhD
Reviewed by: Sanober Amin, MD, PhD
First Published: 03/28/2014
Last Reviewed: 03/28/2014