Some people think about sun protection only when they are spending the day at the beach, lake or pool. But did you know that the sun’s UV rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes, even on slightly cloudy or cool days? We all need a gentle reminder to protect our skin not only in the summer months, but all year round.

Our skin is the body’s largest organ. It protects us against heat, sunlight, injury, and infection. According to the CDC, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S., every year, nearly 5 million people are treated for skin cancer. However, most skin cancers are preventable if you take the necessary precautions.

If you’re wondering if it is possible to avoid the sun completely, it’s not possible or healthy. Our bodies need vitamin D to absorb calcium and promote bone growth and we get most of our vitamin D from the sun. Although we need the nutrients, there are ways to help ensure you’re not getting too much sun. If you’re going to be outside, reduce your exposure and risk for skin cancer by using the layered approach.

  • Stay in the shade, especially during midday hours when the sun’s UV rays are strongest
  • Protect your skin with clothing and wear a hat to protect your head, face, and neck
  • Wear sunglasses that block UV to protect your eyes and the skin around them
  • Use SPF 15 sunscreen or higher to help protect the skin that isn’t covered

It doesn’t matter your skin tone or age, anyone can get skin cancer. To ensure protection, make sure you are taking the necessary steps before heading outside.