What To Know About Sun Safety

July 11, 2024

young girl at beach and woman applying sunscreen Hover image

South Carolina’s temperate climate means South Carolinians spend a lot of time outside in the sun all year. Being outside and getting vitamin D* is important for your health. But you should practice ultraviolet (UV) safety when outdoors. 

About 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer, the most common type of cancer in the United States. People should practice safety measures all summer. 

Here are a few things to know about protecting yourself from the sun: 

1. Wear sunscreen.

No matter your skin tone, you need to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays*. Sun damage such as burns can happen no matter your skin color*. 

2. Seek shade. 

Stay in the shade between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. This is when the sun’s rays tend to be the strongest here. 

3. Check the UV index forecast.

Like your daily weather forecast — which is important for your overall safety — the UV index* tells you the strength of UV rays each day. If the index is 3 or higher, protect your skin from too much exposure. 

4. Protect yourself on cloudy days.

Even on overcast or cold days, the sun’s rays can still damage your skin. Practice these safety guidelines year-round, including wearing sunscreen. 

5. Wear protective clothing.

Certain types of fabrics are better for protection against UV rays*. A hat with a brim can protect your face, ears and neck. 

6. Apply sunscreen.

Make sure to put sunscreen* on every part of your body that is not protected by clothing, including your lips and ears. The American Cancer Society recommends a sunscreen with at least SPF 30* or higher. 

7. Reapply sunscreen.

Be sure to reapply sunscreen at least every two hours or more frequently if you are swimming or sweating. Be sure to read the label on the sunscreen you are using. 

8. Apply sunscreen correctly.

A higher SPF doesn’t mean you can stay in the sun longer. Setting a reminder will help you know when to seek shade out of the sun or reapply your sunscreen. It is important to know how to apply sunscreen* and what to look for when you purchase it. 

9. Wear shades.

Sunglasses can protect your eyes* and the skin around your eyes. Spending a lot of time in the sun without them can increase your risk of developing certain eye diseases. Look for labels for UV protection. If the sunglasses do not have a label, do not assume it will protect your eyes or skin. 

10. Practice safety for kids.

Keep kids safe by applying sunscreen, reapplying sunscreen, wearing hats and protective clothing, and seeking shade. 

11. Protect babies from the sun. 

Babies younger than 6 months should be kept out of direct sunlight and protected from the rays. Talk with your pediatrician about what type of sunscreen is recommended. 

12. Be careful around water.

Practice more caution around water and sand. These surfaces reflect and intensify the sun’s rays and can be more damaging to your skin. 

13. Avoid intentionally tanning.

Experts recommend that you avoid tanning beds or artificial sun lamps. These can cause skin cancer and premature wrinkling. Intentional tanning outside can be just as dangerous. If you use sunless tanning products*, talk to your doctor and continue to wear sunscreen. 

*These links lead to third-party websites. Those organizations are solely responsible for the contents and privacy policies on their sites. 

Related Reading

Complementary Content