The WellSpan Spotlight

Health and wellness

Tips for staying safe in the sun this summer

Tips for staying safe in the sun this summer

With summer in full swing, it's important to follow precautions to ensure we are staying safe in the sun while also enjoying the warm weather.

Here are some tips on proper sun care, as recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Dr. Theresa Zaleski, WellSpan dermatologist and Mohs surgeon:


  • Reduce your risk of sun damage and skin cancer by staying in the shade under an umbrella, tree, or another protective shelter.
  • Seek shade between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun's rays are the strongest.
  • Use sunscreen or wear protective clothing when you're outside, even when you're in the shade.


  • When possible, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, or skirts, which can provide protection from the sun's powerful ultraviolet (UV) rays.
  • Wear a T-shirt or a beach cover-up. A dry T-shirt offers more UV protection than a wet one.
  • Densely woven cloth, like denim, canvas, wool, or synthetic fibers are more protective than sheer, thin, or loosely woven cloth.
  • Darker colors may offer more protection than lighter colors and less UV rays are less likely to reach your skin. Some clothing, or sunscreen clothing, is certified as offering UV protection.


  • For the most sun protection, wear a hat with a brim all the way around that shades your face, ears, and the back of your neck.
  • A tightly woven fabric, like canvas, works best to protect your skin from UV rays. Avoid straw hats with holes that let in sunlight. A darker hat may offer more UV protection.
  • If you wear a baseball cap, protect your ears and the back of your neck with clothing that covers those areas, use sunscreen, or stay in the shade.


  • Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts. They also protect the tender skin around your eyes from sun exposure.
  • Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays offer the best protection.
  • Most sunglasses sold in the United States, regardless of cost, meet this standard. Wrap-around sunglasses work best because they block UV rays from sneaking in from the side.


  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays, and has an SPF of 30 or greater before you head outdoors.
  • Sunscreen works best when combined with other options.
  • Reapply sunscreen if you stay in the sun for more than two hours and after swimming, sweating, or drying off.
  • Sunscreen should be worn even on cloudy days. A nickel-size dollop of sunblock should be used for the face, while two tablespoons or a shot glass full of sunblock should be applied to the face and body.