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Skin cancer protection: 4 tips for choosing the most effective sunscreen

woman applying sunscreen

With temperatures continuing to rise across the country, staying protected from harmful UV rays is important. According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, with one in five people expected to be diagnosed with some version of the disease during their lifetime.

Vanessa Cook, MD, a family medicine physician at Manhattan’s Primary Care Clinic, recommends the following four tips for choosing the most protective sunscreen:

  1. Find a sunscreen that covers UVA and UVB rays: Sunlight is made up of two harmful rays known as UVA and UVB – UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin while UVB rays usually burn the superficial layers of the skin.
  2. Be sure sunscreen is at least an SPF 30 or higher: Sunscreen with SPF 30 protects approximately 97 percent of harmful UV rays, and is clinically proven to be enough protection to reduce or minimize the adverse effects of sunlight.
  3. Consider wearing sunscreen every day: While sunscreen is not needed for completely indoor activities, most people spend at least a portion of their day outdoors, even if only for several minutes at a time. Experts recommend wearing sunscreen daily.
  4. Reapply sunscreen every two hours: Apply sunscreen 15 to 20 minutes before going outside, and reapply it every two hours, particularly if you’re swimming or sweating heavily.

Wearing protective clothing, such as long sleeves, hats, and sunglasses, can also help protect against harmful UV rays.

If you’d like to talk to a doctor about about sunscreen and sun safety tips, contact:


About Michelle Kennedy

Michelle Kennedy is the Senior Marketing Specialist for Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Manhattan, Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg and Wamego Health Center. She is a proud wife and mom and loves cooking, camping and spending time outdoors, her dogs and reading.