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Think sun protection during Skin Cancer Awareness Month



The sun protection dermatologists recommend

It’s estimated that about 9,500 people in the United States are diagnosed with skin cancer every day. Many of these skin cancers could have been prevented with sun protection.

That’s why dermatologists recommend that everyone Practice Safe Sun. Here’s what you need to do:

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Seek shade

Seek shade when appropriate, remembering that the sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. If your shadow appears to be shorter than you are, seek shade.

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Wear sun-protective clothing

Wear a lightweight and long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses with UV protection, when possible. For more effective protection, select clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) number on the label.

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Apply sunscreen

Apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to all skin not covered by clothing. Remember to reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating.


Take the Practice Safe Sun challenge

To help make sun protection a habit, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) encourages you to Practice Safe Sun every time you’re outdoors this month. By practicing it every day, we hope that you’ll continue to Practice Safe Sun for months and years to come.

Year-round sun protection plays an important role in keeping your skin looking its best.

When you Practice Safe Sun while outdoors, you can:

  • Reduce your risk of developing skin cancer

  • Prevent sunburn

  • Decrease signs of early skin aging like wrinkles and sun spots

  • Diminish flare-ups of skin conditions like melasma and dark spots called hyperpigmentation

All these benefits can help give you a lifetime of healthier skin.

May is the perfect time to take the Practice Safe Sun challenge. It’s National Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and Melanoma Monday® occurs during May.

What is Melanoma Monday®?

The first Monday in May is Melanoma Monday®. The AAD created this day in 1995 to call attention to the seriousness of melanoma and encourage everyone to perform a skin self-exam. Checking your skin can help you find skin cancer early when it’s highly treatable. Even melanoma, the most serious skin cancer, is highly treatable when found early.


Help others Practice Safe Sun

May is also an opportune time to help your family and friends learn about sun protection and its benefits.

To help raise awareness, you can use these free flyers, posters, and videos. To spread the word on social media, use the hashtag #PracticeSafeSun.

Related AAD resources


Last updated: 4/25/22

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