Another beautiful—but hot—Tennessee summer is about to unfold. Since we’ve been cooped up inside for so much of the spring, most of us are more than ready to head outside!

Before you head outdoors, though, take some time to make sure you’re practicing sun safety. When you’re outside, you’re exposed to ultraviolet rays that can increase your risk of skin cancer, which is why our team at AFC Urgent Care TN wants to offer some tips for protecting your skin.

Is Skin Cancer Common?

Yes, skin cancer is incredibly common. In fact, one in five Americans will be diagnosed with some type of skin cancer by the time they hit age 70.

You might think that only certain people are at risk, but in reality, every single person is at risk of skin cancer. Cancer doesn’t discriminate based on age, gender, skin tone or race. But while it can happen to anyone, some people are at a higher risk.

Risk Factors for Skin Cancer

  • Personal or family history of skin cancer
  • Fair skin
  • Blonde or red hair
  • Time spent in tanning beds or tanning
  • History of sunburns

What Can I Do to Protect My Skin?

Your best defense against skin cancer is to wear sunscreen, and you’ll even want to wear it on cloudy days. Ultraviolet A rays can make it through to earth even when it’s overcast.

Choose a sunscreen that’s labeled as “broad spectrum” with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. It’s important to note that sunscreen can no longer be labeled as “water-resistant” or “waterproof,” so be aware of that when choosing sunscreen.

Sun Safety Basics

  • Apply sunscreen to exposed skin 30 minutes before going outside.
  • Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours or more often if swimming or sweating.
  • Seek shade when possible.
  • Try to stay inside between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are hottest.
  • Wear a lip balm containing sunscreen.
  • Wear a broad-brimmed hat to protect the ears, neck and scalp.

In need of medical care? Schedule an AFC TeleCare appointment with your local AFC Urgent Care TN location to get the care you need from the comfort of home.