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Skin Cancer Awareness Month: Protect Your Skin this May

May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month and a good time to brush up on your skin cancer prevention methods -- just before summer. While sun protection should be something we practice all year long, we like to get a refresher every once in a while. Since we'll be spending more time in the sun over the next several months, now is a great time to prepare.

During skin cancer awareness month, we're brushing up on the ways we can protect ourselves form the sun with sunscreen, protective clothing and shade.

The Skin Cancer Foundation has a full list of ways that you can keep your skin protected but we're looking at the top three most important things to keep in mind when enjoying the spring and summer sun. 1. Wear Sunscreen: When we're on the beach, we want to wear those new swimsuits without having to worry about exposed skin. To do that, we use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. This will guard your skin from the broad spectrum of UVA and UVB rays which can damage your skin. Make sure you apply liberally and don't forget your face, your ears, your hands and your feet -- all of which are commonly forgotten and exposed to the sun. If you're concerned about how much sunscreen to use, take some expert advice. Elizabeth K. Hale, M.D., professor of dermatology at New York University School of Medicine, suggests aiming for two milligrams of sunscreen per square centimeter. It sounds really scientific but that's about a shot glass full of sunscreen for your face and body. And just remember, you can never put on too much. Make sure you stock up on all your sunscreen needs today! 2. Wear Sun Protective Clothing: From sun hats to cover ups, it's important that we give our skin a little break from the sun every now and then by putting on clothes that will block out UV rays. It may be hot but long pants and long sleeves could save you from an unnecessary sunburn. A good hat and UV-protective sun glasses will also be a lifesaver when the sun is beating down on us. When choosing clothes to protect us, we look for UV-protective fabrics. Clothes that protect from the sun are often given an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating. This is an important element to look for when shopping for beach wear. Explore UPF rated clothing on Mott 50 and Parasol. 3. Find the Shade: The hours between 10am and 4pm are generally the most dangerous when it comes to sun exposure. Make sure you know where you can find shade and retreat there early and often. Take an umbrella -- or even a "sombrilla" like this one -- to the beach with you so that you can block out those dangerous rays all day.

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