Fun Without Sunburn: How To Protect Yourself From Skin Cancer This Summer

Affecting more than 2 million Americans each year, skin cancer is no laughing matter – but it can be hard to determine exactly how to protect yourself from the sun's harmful rays this summer when so much of what you have to do requires you to be outside. So if you're looking for ways to reduce the sun's effect on your skin during these summer months, then here's what you need to know.

Be Smart with SPF

Sunscreen protects you against the sun's rays, but you have to be smart about buying and applying it in order to actually get a good amount of value out of it. The number next to the acronym SPF (which stands for Sun Protection Factor) tells you basically how much time being non-sunburned you'll gain out of applying it – so the bigger the number, the better, right? Well, not exactly; once you go above SPF 45, the numbers become kind of meaningless, as no sunscreen can protect you 100% of the time.

Once you have your preferred sunscreen, ensure that you actually take time to reapply it throughout the day, at least once every two hours that you're outside for. Make sure you wear it in your car, as well – even if your windshield and windows are tinted, you can still get sunburned through them.

Watch the Clock

If you need to work on your yard, supervise the kids while they play, or go relax in a lawn chair, you may want to check your clock before heading out into the blistering sun. Between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. are the peak burning hours, when the sun is at its most potent and you're the most likely to burn the quickest. Avoiding being outside for long periods of time between these hours is a good way to passively protect your skin from the sun.

Wear Protection

While the best protection against skin cancer is to stay inside, that's not really feasible for most people – so instead, wear some protection and bring the safety of your home everywhere you go. Hats and parasols (or even just a small sun umbrella) are great for deflecting the rays of the sun away from your skin, while wearing longer sleeves and pants can be a massive help as well.

While each of these techniques works well on their own, for the best protection you can have, try combining them for more potent sun protection. If you're still curious about how else you can protect against skin cancer, ask your doctor for more personal recommendations. You should also contact a local dermatologist at a clinic like Strnot Dermatology if you're concerned about previous sun exposure or any suspicious moles or spots.