What Can I Do to Reduce My Risk of Skin Cancer?

Protection from ultraviolet (UV) radiation is important all year, not just during the summer or at the beach. UV rays from the sun can reach you on cloudy and hazy days, not just on bright and sunny days. UV rays also reflect off of surfaces like water, cement, sand, and snow. Indoor tanning (using a tanning bed, booth, or sunlamp to get tan) exposes users to UV radiation.

The hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Daylight Saving Time (9 a.m. to 3 p.m. standard time) are the most hazardous for UV exposure outdoors in the continental United States. UV rays from sunlight are the greatest during the late spring and early summer in North America.

CDC recommends easy options for protection from UV radiation when the UV index is 3 or higher—

Stay in the shade, especially during midday hours.
Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs.
Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade your face, head, ears, and neck.
Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block both UVA and UVB rays.
Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher, and both UVA and UVB (broad spectrum) protection.
Avoid indoor tanning.

NIOSH Fast Facts: Protecting Yourself from Sun Exposure
CDC Health Information for International Travel: Sun Exposure

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