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How to be "sun smart" this summer

Summertime is a great time of year to enjoy the outdoors, the long days and the warmth of the sun. It's also the most critical time to be "sun smart." Being aware of the sun and reducing its long-term ultraviolet radiation exposure leads to healthier skin, slows the effects of photo-aging (including skin thinning, wrinkles, dark spots, and dryness) and reduces future likelihood of developing skin cancer.

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S. affecting one in five Americans in their lifetimes. The earlier in life you start practicing sun safety, the better your skin will be in the long run. Sun protection can lower your risk of skin cancer. The goal of enjoying outdoor activities should not be to burn or even tan. Always avoid sun bathing, and never use tanning booths! Applying sunscreen is most important between 10 am and 4 pm when the sun's rays are strongest. If possible, try to avoid peak hours by staying indoors or seeking shade. And remember, if your shadow is shorter than you, you have a higher risk of burning.

If you are going to be out in the sun, here are a few helpful tips to consider: