As summer officially begins on Friday, June 21, the days will get warmer and more people across Southern California will enjoy spending time at the beach, as well as participating in outdoor activities such as walking, hiking, camping and swimming. 

However, spending too much time in the sun and its harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause skin cancer, a potentially deadly disease. That’s why it’s imperative for everyone to protect their skin on a daily basis. 

“It’s important to know that regardless which sex or race you belong to, you need to protect your skin from UV radiation to lessen your risk of skin cancer,” said Dr. Evette Ramsay, a dermatologist with Kaiser Permanente Southern California. 

“Using sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher is advisable, and it should be reapplied as needed, including every 1-2 hours when in the water or when perspiring. However, using sunscreen alone isn’t always enough during prolonged sun exposure. That’s why you also should consider taking other steps to protect yourself.”

Ramsay offered the following tips to lessen your chance of getting skin cancer:

• Avoid the sun during its peak hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• Understand that sand, water and snow can reflect 85 percent of the sun’s rays.

• To protect your eyes, wear sunglasses capable of blocking 99 percent of UVA and UVB radiation.

• When possible, wear loose-

fitting, long-sleeved clothing to cover much of your skin.

• Wear clothing with the UPF label that helps protect against UV radiation.

• Because their skin is more sensitive, completely shield the skin of babies younger than six months from the sun.

Other tips to protect yourself when outdoors include:

• Wear a wide-brimmed hat and long sleeves and pants if you are going to be outdoors for a long time.

• Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., which is the peak time for UV rays.

• Wear sunscreen on exposed skin. Make sure to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Use it every day, even when it is cloudy.

• Do not use tanning booths or sunlamps.

• Use lip balm or cream that has sun protection factor (SPF) to protect your lips from getting sunburned.

• Wear sunglasses that block UV rays.

“It may not be possible to completely prevent skin cancer, but taking these precautions will help,” Ramsay said. “Also, keep an eye on new spots or growths on your skin as they could be early signs of skin cancer.

“With early detection, skin cancer can be treated more easily. That’s why it’s important to regularly have your skin checked by a doctor.”

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