Summer is coming to an end, but the risk for skin cancer is still present. Medical professionals suggest wearing a sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher every day and covering exposed skin, even in the fall months.

Skin cancer prevention is becoming increasingly important; rates of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, have increased by 800 percent among young women and 400 percent among young men in the U.S. in the last 40 years, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

“Skin cancer doesn’t only affect older people,” said Dr. Richard Vienne, vice president and chief medical officer with Univera Healthcare. ”Teenagers and young adults are at risk and need to take prevention seriously.”

One or more blistering sunburns in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person’s chance of developing melanoma later in life. Yet half of young adults said they’ve been sunburned in the last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Less than 15 percent of high school students use a sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher when they’re outside for more than an hour on a sunny day, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Take action to prevent sunburns and skin cancer by doing more than the minimum; simply applying sunscreen on summer beach or pool days is not enough. Skin needs to be protected during fall, winter and spring months as well.

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends: 

  • Using a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher when you’ll be outside for a long period of time.
  • Applying sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside.
  • Reapplying sunscreen after two hours of sun exposure, swimming or sweating. 
  • Wearing UVA/UVB protective sunglasses and protecting your face with wide-brimmed hats.
  • Seeking shade, especially midday. 
  • Avoiding indoor tanning.
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