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How to Protect Yourself From the Sun's Harmful UV Rays

HealthDay News
by -- Robert Preidt
Updated: Jul 11th 2020

new article illustration

SATURDAY, July 11, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- When you're outside this summer, be sure to protect yourself from the sun, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, and nearly 20 Americans die every day from melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Along with using sunscreen and seeking shade, wearing protective clothing can reduce your exposure to harmful ultraviolet rays.

"The right sun-protective outfit provides long-lasting protection and works great for all skin types and colors," Chicago dermatologist Dr. Omer Ibrahim said in an AAD news release. "The key is to look for dense fabrics and dark or bright colors and pair those with the appropriate accessories."

Cover as much of your skin as possible when spending time outdoors. Choose lightweight and long-sleeved shirts and pants and avoid fabrics with a loose or open weave such as lace. Keep in mind that dark colors offer more protection than light colors.

Sunglasses with UV protection are also important. Lenses that appear dark may not provide that protection, so read the label. Large-framed or wraparound sunglasses protect better than smaller frames, Ibrahim advised.

Wear a wide-brimmed hat that protects your face, neck and ears from the sun. Baseball hats or straw hats with holes aren't as effective.

Wear shoes that cover your feet. If you do wear sandals or flip-flops or go barefoot, be sure to apply sunscreen to all exposed skin.

"In addition to wearing sun-protective clothing, it's important to seek shade and apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to all skin not covered by clothing," Ibrahim said.

If you have questions about how to protect your skin, he suggested contacting a dermatologist.

More information

The Skin Cancer Foundation has more on skin cancer prevention.