Under what types of weather conditions do people need to worry about sun exposure?

Any time the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are able to reach the earth, which means sunny days, cloudy, and even overcast days. In addition, UV rays reflect strongly off water, cement, sand, and snow.

During what time of day and year is ultraviolet radiation (UV) most dangerous?

Generally, the hours between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. are the most hazardous for UV exposure. UV radiation is greatest during the late spring and summer.

What kinds of clothing are the best to protect skin from UV rays?

Loose-fitting clothing made from tightly woven fabric offers the best protection. Attempt to keep clothing dry; a wet T-shirt offers you less UV protection than a dry one.

How can people who work outdoors all summer protect their skin?

If you can’t avoid the sun, you can protect your skin by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, long-sleeved shirt, and long pants.

Are there recommended styles of hats for the best protection?

The best way to choose a hat is to look for one that provides shade for all of your head and neck.

For the best protection, what material should people look for in a hat? 

A tightly woven fabric, such as canvas, works best to protect your skin from UV rays. When possible, avoid straw hats with holes that let sunlight through.

What does a sunscreen’s “SPF” rating mean?

All sunscreens have a sun protection factor (SPF) on their labels.  SPF is a measure of the amount of UV radiation that can reach the skin with sunscreen compared with no sunscreen.  For example: SPF 15 filters out approximately 93 percent of all incoming UVB rays. SPF 30 keeps out 97 percent and SPF 50 keeps out 98 percent. No sunscreen can block all UV rays.

How often should sunscreen be applied? 

Apply at least one ounce of sunscreen (golf-ball size amount to cover all exposed areas) 20 minutes before going outdoors and reapply at least every two hours. Reapply more frequently when you are participating in physical activity or swimming. Lotions provide the best coverage for first application; use mists only for touch-ups or reapplication.

What does “Broad Spectrum” mean on a sunscreen label?  

Broad spectrum sunscreen provides protection from both UVB and UVA rays.  In Canada, regulations depict sunscreen labeling for broad spectrum; look for labels that use the words “Broad Spectrum” and show an image of UVA with a circle around it +UVB.

Are tanning booths, salons, beds, and lamps safe alternatives to sunbathing outdoors?  

Indoor tanning can cause more long-term damage than exposure to the sun. Ultraviolet radiation from tanning beds (primarily UVA) is more intense and more dangerous than sunlight itself.

Can a suntan protect people against skin cancer?  

No, in fact any tan is an indication of permanent skin damage, which increases the risk of skin cancer. A tan only offers the same protective effect as a sunscreen with SPF 2 or 3.

What are the best sunglasses for protecting my eyes from UV rays?   

Wrap-around sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB offer the best protection.

NOTE: The information on the Save Your Skin website is not intended to replace the medical advice of a doctor or healthcare provider. While we make every effort to ensure that the information on our site is as current as possible, please note that information and statistics are subject to change as new research and studies are published. 


Making awareness and education available is crucial. Since 2006, the Foundation has worked to raise awareness of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers focusing on education, prevention and the need for improved patient care.