Skip to content

    Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

    Sunburn - Prevention

    Protecting your skin

    Most skin cancer can be prevented. Use the following tips to protect your skin from the sun. You may decrease your chances of developing skin cancer and help prevent wrinkles.

    Avoid sun exposure

    The best way to prevent a sunburn is to avoid sun exposure.

    Stay out of the midday sun (from 10 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon), which is the strongest sunlight. Find shade if you need to be outdoors. You can also calculate how much ultraviolet (UV) exposure you are getting by using the shadow rule: A shadow that is longer than you are means UV exposure is low; a shadow that is shorter than you are means the UV exposure is high.

    Other ways to protect yourself from the sun include wearing protective clothing, such as:

    • Hats with wide 4 in. (10 cm) brims that cover your neck, ears, eyes, and scalp.
    • Sunglasses with UV ray protection, to prevent eye damage.
    • Loose-fitting, tightly woven clothing that covers your arms and legs.
    • Clothing made with sun protective fabric. These clothes have a special label that tells you how effective they are in protecting your skin from ultraviolet rays.

    Preventing sun exposure in children

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

    • It's safest to keep babies younger than 6 months out of the sun.
    • Teach children the ABCs of how to protect their skin from getting sunburned.
      • A = Away. Stay away from the sun in the middle of the day (from 10 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon).
      • B = Block. Use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher to protect babies' and children's very sensitive skin.
      • C = Cover up. Wear clothing that covers the skin, hats with wide brims, and sunglasses with UV protection. Even children 1 year old should wear sunglasses with UV protection.
      • S = Speak out. Teach others to protect their skin from sun damage.
    1 | 2 | 3
    1 | 2 | 3

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    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.
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    chafing
    Pictures and symptoms of the red, scaly rash.
    woman with dyed dark hair
    What it says about your health.
     
    woman with cleaning products
    Top causes of the itch that rashes.
    atopic dermatitus
    Identify and treat common skin problems.
     
    itchy skin
    Article
    shingles rash on skin
    Article
     
    woman with skin tag
    Quiz
    Woman washing face
    Video
     
    woman washing her hair in sink
    Video
    close up of womans bare neck
    Tools
     
    Feet
    Slideshow
    woman with face cream
    Quiz