It’s natural to want to get out in the sun as the weather warms up. And it's safe too, as long as you stick to social distancing guidelines and protect your skin.
Ultraviolet (UV) rays – from the sun and other sources like tanning beds – are the #1 cause of skin cancer. Too much exposure can also cause sunburn, eye damage, and premature wrinkles. Staying in the shade, shielding your skin with clothing, and using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 can help lower your risk.
While you should use sunscreen every day, it’s even more important during the summer, when the days are longer, the sun is stronger, and it’s easier to spend more time outdoors. When choosing sunscreen, read the label before you buy. Remember that no sunscreen protects you completely.
US Food and Drug Administration regulations require the labels on sunscreens to follow certain guidelines:
Some health, consumer, and environmental groups have raised concerns over ingredients in some sunscreens and their potential effects on people and nature.
According to Len Lichtenfeld, MD, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, “The experts who have looked at the data have concluded that the potential risk of not using sunscreen far outweighs the risks of using sunscreen.” Lichtenfeld, who had skin cancer himself, says he uses sunscreen on his face every day. He recommends people buy and use sunscreens that are sold and marketed in the US because there is less information about the safety and effectiveness of sunscreens made in other countries.
The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.
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