Sun smart tips

How are your sun protection habits?

There are ways to shine at sun protection all day long. Days like this can help prevent sun damage — and reduce your risk of skin cancer.

7 am - You get ready for your day

Like brushing your teeth, you apply sunscreen — a generous amount — as part your morning routine. It’s a great year-round habit. The sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays can penetrate your skin even on cloudy and cool days.

Smart move: You save a step by choosing a moisturizer with sunscreen.

8 am - You commute by car

Your morning ritual has you prepared. You have sunscreen on your face, neck and arms — which may be exposed to the sun’s rays through the windows. Glass blocks out UVB rays, but not all the sun’s UVA radiation.

Smart move: You add UV-blocking window film to your vehicle.

Noon - You have a lunch meeting at an outdoor café

You ask for a table in the shade. You know the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Smart move: You’re sporting sunglasses with UV protection. 

3:30 pm - You take your niece to the neighborhood pool

You pack wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses and clothes to help cover up — and make sure you both have on plenty of water-resistant sunscreen. You watch the clock — and reapply sunscreen according to the directions on the label.

Smart move: When applying sunscreen, you’re careful not to miss spots like ears, feet, hands and the backs of knees. And you aim to slather it on at least 15 minutes before being in the sun.

5:00 pm - You stop at the store on the way home

You stock up on more sunscreen — and you’re choosy. You compare the SPFs (sun protection factor) — and choose products with an SPF of at least 15. (Many experts recommend an SPF of 30 or higher.)

Smart move: You select broad-spectrum sunscreen, which protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

What to do next

Do something else super smart: Watch out for the signs of skin cancer. You’ll want to report anything suspicious to your doctor. When caught early, skin cancer is highly treatable.


American Academy of Dermatology; American Academy of Pediatrics