By Lisa “T.I.” Soluren, Staff Writer

As the sun sets in the west, we determine what type of summer activities we want to engage in before it rises in the east. Before you decide to have the sun hit against your skin, you should always try to protect your skin.

One way to protect your skin is to wear sunscreen. Sunscreen is designed to shield us from ultraviolet rays (UV) because it contains sun protection factor (SPF). SPF is intended to protect us from UVA and UVB rays, which cause skin cancer, premature aging and skin spots. Both rays contribute to skin cancer, but UVA rays are more commonly known with aging while UVB rays are associated with sunburns.

In order to protect from both of these rays, researchers suggest that individuals use a sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 15. Additionally, the sunscreen should be both water and sweat resistant. Try to avoid direct sunlight between the hours of 10 a.m.-4 p.m. because this is when UVB rays are the most intense, resulting in sunburn and skin cancer. Sunscreen should be applied to exposed areas of the skin every 15 to 30 minutes prior to sun exposure, and reapplied every one to two hours. Always check the expiration date on the bottle because these products lose potency when expired.

Exposure to the sun is the most preventable risk for skin cancer. If you are going to be out in the sun, be conscious of how long you are outside and do not forget to use sunscreen.

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