Skin Cancer Prevention Guidelines for Memorial Day Weekend

Tips to Use All Summer Long

New York, NY (May 28, 2010) - Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, with 3.5 million cases in over two million people diagnosed annually. Fortunately, skin cancer is also one of the most preventable forms of cancer. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends the following prevention tips:

1. Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM when the sun is strongest. An extra rule of thumb is the "shadow rule." If your shadow is shorter than you are, ultraviolet (UV) exposure is high; if your shadow is longer, the UV exposure is lower.

2. Do not burn. Sunburns are serious and should be avoided at all costs. A person's risk for skin cancer doubles if he or she had had five or more sunburns at any point in life. Not only can they significantly increase your chances of getting skin cancer, but severe burns can make you ill. For severe burns you should see your doctor.

3. Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths. Ultraviolet radiation from tanning machines is cancer-causing to humans. Indoor UV tanners are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma than those who have never tanned indoors. Additionally, the more time a person has spent tanning indoors, the higher the risk.

4. Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For proper UVB protection The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using SPF 30 when spending extended time outdoors. For effective UVA protection, select products that also contain some combination of avobenzone, oxybenzone, mexoryl, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

5. Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to all exposed areas, 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating. This means that a six ounce bottle of sunscreen offers two full days of sun protection for prolonged outdoor activity.

6. Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses. Clothing can be your most effective form of sun protection, so make the most of it with densely woven and bright- or dark- colored fabrics, which offers the best defense. The more skin you cover, the better, so choose long sleeves and long pants whenever possible.

7. Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months. Children are extremely vulnerable to ultraviolet radiation. Just one severe sunburn in childhood doubles the chances of developing melanoma later in life.

8. Examine your skin from head-to-toe every month. While self-exams shouldn't replace the important annual skin exam performed by a physician, they offer the best chance of detecting the early warning signs of skin cancer. If you notice any change in an existing mole or discover a new one that looks suspicious, see a physician immediately. To find out more about how to spot a skin cancer and for information on self-exams, visit

9. See your physician every year for a professional skin exam. You can also check to see if The Skin Cancer Foundation's Road to Healthy Skin Tour is coming to your area. The Tour, presented by AVEENO and Rite Aid, provides FREE, full-body skin exams by local dermatologists.