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Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, with more than one million skin cancers diagnosed every year. Safeguarding yourself from the sun can dramatically lower your chances of getting premature wrinkles, sunspots and, most importantly, cancer.

Check the label.

When purchasing sunscreen, pay close attention to the SPF number. The FDA recommends you apply sunscreen daily with an SPF of 15 or higher.

Ingredients matter.

The two most effective ingredients for sun protection are Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. Combined, they provide a physical block against both UVA and UVB rays. Pick a sunscreen with endorsement from the National Skin Cancer Foundation or the American Academy of Dermatology.

Protecting children is critical.

Just one blistering sunburn under the age of 18 more than doubles the chance of skin cancer. Look for children’s products that have earned the National Skin Cancer Foundation seal of approval.

Head to toe.

Your hands, feet, behind your ears and even your scalp are just as likely to burn as your arms, legs and back, so make sure to give them a healthy dose of sunscreen.

Once isn’t enough.

Be sure to reapply every 90 minutes and immediately after swimming or sweating – even if you have a sunscreen with a high SPF.

Get covered.

Clothing and hats can help protect you from the sun, but not by themselves. Most summer weight clothing only provides an SPF of about 6, so make sure you’re also applying your sunscreen.

Apply year-round.

Don’t pack away your sunscreen once summer is over. UVA and UVB rays, which can lead to skin cancer and visible signs of aging, are present year-round. You should apply sunscreen every day, rain or shine.

It’s never too late to start protecting yourself. Incorporate daily sunscreen application into your daily routine to decrease your risk of cancer and keep your skin at its healthiest.


Learn more about skin cancer prevention, symptoms and treatments.