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Melanoma/Skin Cancer Health Center

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Prevention

Most nonmelanoma skin cancer can be prevented by protecting your skin from the sun and ultraviolet (UV)radiation.

  • Limit your exposure to the sun, especially from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the hours of peak ultraviolet exposure.
  • Wear protective clothing, including a wide-brimmed hat, a long-sleeved shirt, and pants.
  • Wear sunglasses that block UV rays.
  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. A broad-spectrum sunscreen protects the skin from both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Use lip balm or cream that has sun protection factor (SPF) to protect your lips from getting sunburned or developing cold sores.
  • Avoid tanning booths and sunlamps, which emit UV radiation and can cause skin damage.

Skin protection for children

Children and babies should be protected from the sun. You should start protecting your child from the sun when he or she is a baby. Because children and teens spend a lot of time outdoors playing, they get most of their lifetime sun exposure in their first 18 years.

  • Teach your children that it is important to protect their skin from the sun.
  • Have your children wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and a hat when they are in the sun.
  • Have your children wear sunscreen. Choose a sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher. Follow the instructions on the sunscreen. Reapply sunscreen after 2 hours in the sun or water, even if the sunscreen is waterproof.
  • Keep babies younger than 6 months out of direct sunlight.

Some people believe that a tan may protect them against a sunburn and skin damage. But the amount of sun exposure needed to get a tan can by itself cause skin damage.

actionset.gifSkin Cancer: Protecting Your Skin

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 02, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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