Most skin cancers are at least partially caused by UV exposure, so reducing exposure reduces skin cancer risk. We recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher as one important part of a complete sun protection regimen. But sunscreen alone is not enough. Read our full list of skin cancer prevention tips below.
- Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM. Shade does not block all UV radiation if it does not block all of the sky, nor does it protect against scattered UV rays. For this reason, shade should be combined with other methods
- Do not burn. It may seem like just a temporary irritation, but sunburns can cause long-lasting damage to the skin.
- Avoid tanning and UV tanning beds. Indoor tanning also causes premature skin aging, such as wrinkles and age spots. Intentionally tanning the skin in the sun is an additional source of unnecessary and easily avoidable UV exposure.
- Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
- Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
- Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
- Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
- See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.