Jul 28, 2017 10:00 AM


a little girl sits in the shade wearing a big sun hat and sunglasses

Updated May 2019

Sunscreen keeps you safe from harmful ultra-violet (UV) rays, but it works even better when paired with these sun safety precautions.

Avoid Peak Hours in the Sun

The sun is strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If possible, don’t spend a lot of time outdoors during these hours.

Seek Shade

If you can’t avoid the sun during peak hours, find a spot in the shade. However, UV rays can still indirectly reach your skin. UV rays may bounce off sand, snow, or concrete even though you are covered by an umbrella or tree. Shade is most effective when you can’t see the sky.

Cover Up with Clothing and a Wide-Brimmed Hat

Clothing is the first barrier between UV rays and your skin. Any clothing will help protect you from the sun, but some is better than others. Read about what clothing is best for protecting your skin.

Hats are a stylish way to keep the sun off your head, face, and shoulders. Choose a hat with a brim at least three inches wide to cover the back of your neck, nose, and ears.

Patients who are receiving cancer treatment may become extra sensitive to the sun. Surgical scars and areas of skin treated by radiation can burn easily. If you’ve lost your hair, your head is also vulnerable. It is important to keep these areas protected from the sun. Read 6 tips for sun sensitivity during cancer treatment

Wear Sunglasses

Your eyes are also sensitive to the sun’s rays, which can cause vision loss or eye and eyelid cancers. Look for sunglasses labeled as having 99–100% UV light protection. Wraparound styles keep light from shining around the frames and into your eyes.

a cartoon shows a man and a woman being sun safe on the beach

Don’t Use Tanning Beds

Tanning beds expose you to harmful UV light. Often this type of UV light is stronger and can cause more damage in less time than UV rays from the sun. Instead, try to learn to love your natural skin color.

Remember, a tan is your skin’s reaction to UV damage. There’s no such thing as a safe, healthy tan.

For more information on any cancer topic, contact the Cancer Learning Center at 1-888-424-2100 or cancerinfo@hci.utah.edu.

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