Sun Safety 101

When it comes to spending time in the sun, it’s all about balance. Here are some illuminating tips to keep in mind to keep your skin safe.

Recognize Your Risk

Skin cancers are the most common
kind of cancer in the U.S.i , affecting

1 in 5 Americans.ii

More people are diagnosed with skin
cancer each year in the U.S. than

all other cancers combined.i

Skin cancer is the most preventable form of
cancerviii and can be prevented by

using sun safe practices.

Skin cancers can affect anyone,

regardless of skin tone.ii

Tips on Tackling Sun Protection

Keep time.

The sun is strongest between 10am and 2pm, so be mindful of how much time you spend outdoors during those hours.iii If your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade.iv

Don’t let the weather cloud your judgement.

Clouds do not block all UV rays, only some, so it’s important to wear sunscreen no matter what the weather forecast says.v

Sunscreen isn’t seasonal.

Daily sunscreen use can cut the incidence of melanoma in half.i For the most effective protection, apply sunscreen with care 30 minutes before going outdoors,vi use SPF 30 or higher and reapply every two hours.vii For more information on how to select sunscreen see here.

Evaluate your environment.

Use extra caution near water, snow and sand, as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.vii UVA rays can also penetrate glass, so apply sunscreen or wear protective clothing (like sleeves) while in the car.vii

Did You Know?

Sunburns don’t age well.

One blistering sunburn during childhood or adolescence can nearly double a person’s chance of developing melanoma.iii

The clock starts at 15 minutes.

It only takes 15 minutes for UV rays to damage unprotected skin.v

Melanoma is not just skin cancer.

Melanoma can develop anywhere on the body – eyes, scalp, nails, feet, mouth, etc.iii It’s also just one type of skin cancer; research estimates that nonmelanoma skin cancers, including basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, affect more than 3 million Americans each year.ii

The clock stops at 12 hours.

It can take up to 12 hours for skin to show the full effect of sun exposure.v

There is a unique benefit with high SPFs.

Wearing high SPFs provide an extra measure of protection in case of under-application.vii

Can you guess the shelf life of a sunscreen?

Sunscreen without an expiration date has a shelf life of no more than three years, but its shelf life is shorter if it has been exposed to high temperatures.vii

You may be able to save on sunscreen.

Sunscreen and other products that protect against the sun can be purchased using a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA).

There are two main categories of UV filters.vii

Chemical filters absorb UV rays so that your skin doesn’t. Mineral filters reflect, scatter and absorb UV rays.

To learn more, visit our partners, the American Academy of Dermatology and the Melanoma Research Foundation and visit our take action page.


i Skin Cancer Foundation. Skin Cancer Facts & Statistics. Available at:

ii American Academy of Dermatology Association. Skin Cancer. Available at:

iii Melanoma Research Foundation. Understand Melanoma. Available at:

iv American Academy of Dermatology Association. Memorial Day Press Release 2019. Available at:

v American Cancer Society. How Do I Protect Myself from UV Rays? Available at:

vi Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How Can I Protect My Children from the Sun? Available at:

vii American Academy of Dermatology. Sunscreen FAQs. Available at:

viii Prevent Cancer Foundation. Save Your Skin. Available at:

Take Action

Discover simple steps that can help you stay safe in the sun and opportunities to make a difference in your own community.

About the Film

A poignant and inspiring documentary that follows the personal skin health journeys of seven families.