Protect Your Skin From Cancer

Nebraska ranks 8th in the nation for new cases of melanoma, a serious type of skin cancer. Spending time in the sun increases your risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. People of all skin colors are at risk for this damage.

We get sun damage to our skin by invisible ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Sunburn is a type of skin damage caused by the sun. Tanning also is a sign of the skin reacting to potentially damaging UV radiation.

You can lessen your risk by:

  • Limiting your time in the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. This is when the sun’s rays are most intense.
  • Wearing clothing to cover skin exposed to the sun—such as long-sleeve shirts, pants, sunglasses, and broad-brim hats. Sun-protective clothing is available. (The FDA regulates these products only if they are intended to be used for medical purposes.)
  • Using broad spectrum sunscreens with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) value of 15 or higher regularly and as directed. (Broad spectrum sunscreens offer protection against both UVA and UVB rays, two types of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.)
  • Always reading the label to ensure you use your sunscreen correctly. Ask your doctor or nurse before using sunscreen on infants younger than 6 months. The best option is to keep infants younger than 6 months out of direct sunlight. When outside during the day, keep infants in the shade.

In general, the FDA recommends that you use broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher, even on cloudy days.

  • Apply sunscreen liberally to all uncovered skin. Use it especially your nose, ears, neck, hands, feet, and lips (but avoid putting it inside your mouth and eyes).
  • Reapply at least every two hours. Apply more often if you’re swimming or sweating. (Read the label for your specific sunscreen. An average-size adult or child needs at least one ounce of sunscreen to evenly cover the body. This is about the amount it takes to fill a shot glass.)
  • If you don’t have much hair, apply sunscreen to the top of your head, or wear a hat. Use a hat that also covers your ears and back of your neck
  • No sunscreen completely blocks UV radiation. So other protections are needed, such as protective clothing, sunglasses, and staying in the shade.
  • No sunscreen is waterproof.

Find more info on sunscreens and the new U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations at:

FDA proposed new sunscreen regulation changes in February 2019. It regulates sunscreens to make sure they meet safety and e­ffectiveness standards. The proposed rule describes updated proposed requirements for sunscreens.

The proposed rule includes information on sunscreen active ingredient safety and e­ffectiveness. Two ingredients (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) are proposed to be safe and eff­ective for sunscreen use. Two (aminobenzoic acid (PABA) and trolamine salicylate) are proposed as not safe and eff­ective for sunscreen use.

Check out the new Skin Cancer Prevention Toolkit on the Four Corners website at Learn more on this topic to protect you and your family. Have your skin regularly checked when you see your doctor.

For a talk or more resources on this topic, call Four Corners Health Department @ 877-337-3573. Send an email to Be safe in the sun this summer.