Practice Sun Safety

Spending time outside is a great way to be physically active, reduce stress and get vitamin D, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But too much sun can come with a cost: skin cancer.

Most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet light, which is made of an invisible kind of radiation that comes from the sun, tanning beds and sunlamps. These UV rays can damage skin cells and leave you with serious health issues. Fortunately, there are many ways to curb the onset of skin cancer. As the pool season winds down and you enjoy the final months of milder fall temperatures, it is vital that you protect your skin from the sun.


You can reduce your risk of sun damage and skin cancer by staying in the shade. You can find shade under an umbrella, tree or other shelter. If you plan to spend time in the sun for an extended period of time, your best bet to protect your skin is to use sunscreen or wear protective clothing. When possible, wear long sleeved shirts and long pants and skirts. You can also try to wear a T-shirt or a beach cover-up if you’re planning on enjoying the beach. Clothes made from tightly woven fabric offer the best protection, and opt for darker colors for optimal protection.


Many people wear hats to give them more protection. The CDC recommends hats with brims all the way around that shades your face, ears and the back of your neck. A tightly woven fabric offers the best protection versus straw hats that will let sunlight through. If you wear a baseball cap, don’t forget to cover the exposed parts of your head, including your ears, with sunscreen.


When choosing a sunscreen, put on broad spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays and has an SPF of 15 or higher before you go outside. You should always apply sunscreen in a thick layer that covers all exposed skin. Looking to take your youngsters outside to enjoy the sun? Remember that sunscreen is not recommended for babies who are six months old or younger. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends keeping infants out of the sun during midday and using protective clothing if they have to be in the sun.