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reviewed 7/26/18

Sun safety

Learn how to protect yourself from the sun's rays.

Reduce sun exposure and skin cancer risk with these top tips

Select each circle to learn more about how to protect yourself from the sun.

Seek shade:

Don't stay out in direct sunlight for too long. The sun's rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. That's the time to stay in the shade. A good rule of thumb: If your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade.

Put on a hat:

A hat with a 2- to 3-inch brim all around is a good choice, as is a shade cap (a baseball cap with fabric down the sides and back). Baseball caps and straw hats offer less protection.

Wear sunglasses:

Melanoma can develop in the eyes, so choose glasses that block 99 percent to 100 percent of UV rays and wear them every day. Darker glasses don't necessarily mean more protection—check the label to be sure.

Wear protective clothes:

Cover as much of your skin as possible. Dark colors and tightly woven fabrics offer the most protection. To get an idea of how protective clothing is, hold it up to bright light. If light comes through, the sun's rays can get through too.

Take extra care near water, snow and sand:

All of these surfaces reflect and intensify the sun's damaging rays, increasing your chances of sunburn.

Use sunscreen:

Choose a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more. Apply it generously to all exposed skin before you go outside. Reapply at least every 2 hours and after swimming or sweating. You should follow these rules even if it's cloudy.

Use lip balm:

Protect your lips by wearing lip balm that contains sunscreen.

Sources: American Academy of Dermatology; American Cancer Society

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