Summer Sun Safety Month: Protect Your Skin from Damaging UV Rays

Happy child wearing sunscreen

Summer may be winding down but the sun is still strong in the late August sky, which is why it’s important to protect your skin from its powerful ultraviolet (UV) rays. 

More than 5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. each year, and according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the vast majority are associated with exposure to UV radiation from the sun.

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Summer Sun Safety Month is a good time to remind us all to take precautions while having fun in the sun!  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers these tips to protect your skin:

Apply (and reapply) sunscreen

Use a broad spectrum sunscreen that blocks UVA and UVB rays with an sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher on any exposed skin before you go out in the sun.

Reapply sunscreen every two hours you spend in the sun, particularly after swimming or sweating from physical activity.  

Don’t forget to check the sunscreen’s expiration date. Sunscreen has a shelf life of no more than three years and expired products do not provide effective sun protection.

Because sunscreen is not recommended for babies six months or younger, infants should be kept out of the sun during midday hours or dressed in protective clothing if they are going to be in the sun.

A mom applying sunscreen to her son's nose and face

Cover up with protective clothing

Wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants can help protect your skin from UV rays.  

If you’re heading to the beach or pool, t-shirts or cover-ups are a smart clothing option, as are swim suits, shorts and shirts designed to offer UV protection.  

Choose clothing made from tightly woven materials in darker colors for the best protection. 

Wear a wide-brimmed hat

Don a hat with a brim big enough to shade your face, ears and the back of your neck. 

Canvas and other tightly woven fabrics protect your skin from UV rays better than straw hats that allow sunlight to come through.

Don’t forget the sunscreen for your ears and neck if you’re wearing a baseball cap or visor.  

Sport some sunglasses

You can protect your eyes from damaging UV rays and reduce your risk for cataracts by wearing sunglasses that that block UVA and UVB rays. 

Choose wrap-around sunglasses, which can block UV rays coming in on the side of your face and offer better eye and skin protection.

Seek shade

Guard against sun damage and skin cancer by taking cover under an umbrella, awning, tree or shelter when outdoors, especially during the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when the sun is at its strongest.

Wear sunscreen and protective clothing, even while in the shade, for the best protection.