Patient Education : Sun Protection

Sun Protection

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US and 90% of skin cancers are caused by sun exposure.

Sun & Skin Cancer Facts

  • Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US.
  • More than 90% of skin cancers are caused by sun exposure
  • Protecting the skin as a child and teenager can significantly reduce the risk of skin cancer and premature skin aging as an adult.
  • People of every color are at risk! While light-skinned people are more likely to get skin cancer, people of color are more likely to die of melanoma if they get it…so everyone needs to be careful!

Sunscreen Tips

  • Use EVERY day. Even on cloudy days up 80% of the sun’s harmful rays reach earth.
  • Wear a sunscreen everyday that has at least a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15.
  • Understand SPF-Sun Protection Factor. If you normally burn in 20 minutes, an SPF 15 sunblock will prevent it for 20 * 15 minutes=300 minutes=5 hours.
  • Use A LOT! Studies have shown that the average person uses about 1/2 the amount of sunscreen that the manufacturer used when determining the SPF value. The average adult requires one ounce (oz) of sunscreen for adequate total body coverage. Children require about half this amount.
  • Apply to dry skin about 15 to 30 minutes before going outdoors.
  • Reapply after sweating, swimming or toweling off.
  • Don’t Forget your lips, ears and exposed scalp. (stick balms work great for these areas…they are also good around the eyes to avoid stinging)
  • Use what works best for you. Sprays work best on the body and are fun for children. Gels work well for oily skin or when working and sweating. Lotions help dry skin.

Other Important Tips

  • Wear hats & use an umbrella. Each inch of hat brim can lower your lifetime risk of skin cancer by 10%. A hat brim of four inches or greater is recommended. Make certain that the top and brim of a straw hat have sunproof liners in place.
  • Minimize sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the worst and greatest quantity of ultraviolet light exists.