Sun Safety Tips to Help Prevent Skin Cancer

by Paul Martin -

Melanoma Research FoundationThe Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF), the largest private, national organization devoted to melanoma in the United States, issued the following statement in response to the media attention regarding the Environmental Working Group’s recent report on sunscreen effectiveness:

“It is important that we remain vigilant in making safe decisions when it comes to the sun.  Sadly, approximately 65 percent of melanomas—the most serious form of skin cancer and one of the fastest growing cancers in the U.S.—are attributed to ultraviolet exposure,” said Dr. Allan Halpern, member of the MRF’s Scientific Advisory Committee and Chief of the Dermatology Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.  “Too many people mistakenly view wearing sunscreen as a blank check for spending unlimited time in the sun.  Sunscreen is just one component of sun safety.”

The MRF recommends the following sun safety practices for all skin types to help prevent skin cancer:

  • Generously apply sunscreen to all exposed skin—even on cloudy days—using a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 that provides broad-spectrum protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays.
  • Re-apply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming or sweating.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, when possible.
  • Seek shade when appropriate, remembering that the sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Use extra caution near water, snow and sand, as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.
  • Do not burn.  Severe sunburns, especially during childhood, increase your risk of developing melanoma and other skin cancer.
  • Avoid intentional tanning and indoor tanning beds. Current research indicates there is no way to get a tan through ultraviolet radiation without increasing the risk for skin cancer.
  • Consider using a sunless self-tanning product if you want to look like you’ve been in the sun, but continue to use sunscreen.
  • Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet that includes vitamin supplements.  Don’t seek the sun.

Melanoma is one of the fastest growing cancers worldwide and can strike people of all ages, all races and both sexes.  In fact, with a one in 50 lifetime risk of developing melanoma, more than 62,000 Americans are expected to be diagnosed with invasive melanoma this year, resulting in an estimated 8,400 deaths.

About Melanoma Research Foundation

The Melanoma Research Foundation is the largest private, national organization devoted to melanoma in the United States.  The Foundation is committed to the support of medical research in finding effective treatments and eventually a cure for melanoma. The Foundation also educates patients and physicians about prevention, diagnosis and treatment of melanoma, while acting as an advocate for the melanoma community to raise awareness of this disease and the need for a cure.  The MRF Web site is the premiere source for melanoma information seekers.  More information is available at


  1. smilinggreenmom

    Thanks for the great info here. My mother-in-law actually had skin cancer and is doing great now…but we have learned a lot from this. We apply sunscreen on our body all the time! I love natural products and at the beginning of summer I received my first tube of the Topricinkids and regular Topricin for natural relief from sunburns, bug bites, bee stings, minor pains etc. Fortunately, I have NOT had to use it for sunburn. I have used it for pains, and even a couple bee stings- and it is great! Anyway- I am glad to read about all of this as it is good to be reminded of the dangers. I know I could improve especially on cloudy days and reapplying after just two hours. Thanks!

  2. win1atatime

    Thanks for your information and the studies that were done, but it seems to me that a major cause of this disease, and many others, is the fact that are food sources or contaminated. If the FDA would ban alot of the man made ingredients, and chemicals such as sugars, hydrogened oils, and perservatives along with all the antibiotics, we would have far less occurences of this cancer and many others. I am greatful for want we have. but food and water should be are greatest concern.

    Thank you

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