The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends the following steps to help reduce your risk of skin cancer:
- Wear protective clothing, including a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, when possible.
- Seek the shade when appropriate, especially when the sun's rays are the strongest, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Regularly use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or higher on all exposed skin, even on cloudy days. Sunscreen should be reapplied every 2 hours and after swimming or sweating.
- Protect children from the sun by using shade, protective clothing, and applying sunscreen.
- Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand, which can reflect the sun's rays and increase the chances of sunburn.
- Avoid tanning beds. The UV (ultraviolet) light from tanning beds can cause skin cancer and wrinkling.
- Check your birthday suit on your birthday. Look at your skin carefully and if you see anything changing, growing, or bleeding on your skin, see your doctor.
- Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet (which may include vitamin supplements.) Don't seek out the sun.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) approves of the use of sunscreen on infants younger than 6 months old only if adequate clothing and shade are not available. Parents should still try to avoid sun exposure and dress the infant in lightweight clothing that covers most surface areas of skin. However, parents also may apply a minimal amount of sunscreen to the infant's face and back of the hands.
Remember, sand and pavement reflect UV rays even under the umbrella. Snow is even a particularly good reflector of UV rays.