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According to the CDC (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention), most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light.

You can, however, reduce your risk of skin cancer caused by the sun by following the CDC’s tips to protect your skin.

1. Shade
Stay in the shade under an umbrella, tree or other shelter. Even if you are in the shade, wear sunscreen. Remember to protect your skin whether the sun is shining or not – UV rays are present even on overcast days.

2. Clothing
Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants or skirts whenever possible. If it’s not practical, wear a T-shirt or wrap to cover your shoulders. Clothes made from tightly woven fabric provide the best protection, and darker colour fabric offers more protection than lighter colours.

When you’re driving in your car, remember that you’ll also be exposed to the sun through your side window.

3. Hat
When buying a hat, make sure that the brim shades your face, ears, and the back of your neck. Tightly woven material (e.g., canvas) works well whereas a straw hat lets the sunlight through.

Baseball caps are popular and should protect your ears and your face, but remember to apply sunscreen to the exposed skin on your neck. If you’re going to wear the cap with the peak at the back, your neck may be protected but your face will be vulnerable.

Wearing a hat or cap does not replace the need to wear sunscreen – these two protective measures should be taken together.

4. Sunglasses
Sunglasses protect your eyes and can reduce the risk of cataracts. Wrap-around sunglasses work well because they block UV rays reaching you from the side.

5. Sunscreen
Sunscreen is not recommended for babies until they reach the age of six months, so keep the little ones out of the sun and protected.

The Skin Cancer Foundation says that “the right sunscreen can put your best face forward”. Skin can be oily, dry, acne-prone, or sensitive so it’s best to talk to your pharmacist about which sunscreen product will suit you best.

Enjoy the holidays but remember, while you’re out there playing, the sun is working.


While all reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this article, information may change or become dated, as new developments occur. The Link group shall not be held liable or accountable for the accuracy, completeness or correctness of any information for any purpose. No content in this article, irrespective of the date or reference source, should be viewed as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor, pharmacist or any other suitably qualified clinician.