As we move into the warmer summer months, it becomes important to understand the risks of repeated sun exposure. When a person is consistently in the sun, and does not protect themselves from the sun’s rays, they increase the risk of developing a form of skin cancer in the future. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, and has become the most common cancer among young people in the United States. Prevention is an incredibly important practice when going out into the sun. Here are some tips for how to protect your skin during the warmer summer months.

Wear Sunscreen
Sunscreen is one of the most significant prevention strategies to reduce the risk of developing skin cancer. According to the Melanoma Research Alliance, repeated exposure to UV rays from the sun is the largest risk factor for developing skin cancer. As a result, anyone who spends time in the sun should be wearing sunscreen everyday. This not only applies to the summer months, but year-round, as the sun can still cause damage to skin during the winter. When applying sunscreen, use approximately an ounce of an SPF 30 sunscreen, and apply it anywhere on the body that will be exposed to the sun. If you expect to be in the sun for an extended period of time, make sure to reapply sunscreen every two hours.

Wear Protective Clothing
Another strategy that has proven to be successful is wearing protective clothing when in the sun. While it may seem unnecessary to wear long sleeved tops and pants, but protective clothing can significantly reduce potential damage to the skin. Wearing light-colored clothing will not only keep your skin protected, but light colors can help you stay cooler in the sun as well. Additionally, you should wear a hat and sunglasses while in the sun, as these will protect your face and eyes from the sun.

Avoid Tanning Beds
This is one of the most important strategies for skin cancer prevention for several reasons. Because of the UV rays that tanning beds have, use them consistently can dramatically increase a person’s likelihood of developing melanoma skin cancer in the future. According to the Melanoma Research Alliance, using tanning beds can increase a person’s risk of developing melanoma by 75 percent. They found that melanoma is one of the top three most diagnosed cancers for young women between 25-29 years old. While it seems tempting to use a tanning bed to maintain a tan, it also has proven to be extremely dangerous.

While there are other strategies for preventing the development of skin cancer, the ones discussed in this article are the most effective measures. It is important to remain aware of how much you are exposed to the sun, especially with the upcoming summer months.