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Skin Cancer Prevention Tips

Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers and accounts for nearly half of all cancers in the United States. Fortunately, skin cancer is the most preventable type of skin cancer. Living in Florida, it can be almost impossible to avoid sun exposure completely, but there are steps you can take to protect your family’s skin from the sun.

Tips to prevent skin cancer:

  1. Avoid sun exposure between the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when the sun is strongest. Teach your child the shadow rule: if your shadow is shorter than you, the sun’s rays are at their strongest.
  2. Even a single sunburn increases your risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer; suffering five or more sunburns doubles your lifetime risk. Avoid spending long periods in the sun, and when you see or feel your skin redden, take cover.
  3. Wraparound sunglasses that block 99-100 percent of the sun’s UV rays effectively shield both eyes and the surrounding skin, helping prevent serious conditions from cataracts to melanomas of the eye and eyelid.
  4. Just one severe burn in childhood doubles the chances of developing melanoma later in life. Remember, sunburns can be dangerous for babies and toddlers, possibly leading to dehydration and heat stroke.
  5. Keep infants out of direct sunlight. Because an infant’s skin possesses little melanin, babies are especially susceptible to the damaging effects of the sun. If your child is under six months and out in the sun, make sure they are covered by clothes or in the shade of an umbrella or stroller hood.

It is important to use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Are you confused about all the sunscreen options available? View the Skin Cancer Foundation’s list of of recommended products.

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