Protect Your Skin with the Five S’s

May 10 5:00am | Linde Sifuentes, Patient Educator | @sifuenteslinde

Finally, summer is upon us! This means warmer weather and more sunlight throughout the day. For many this means less time in the house and more time outside being exposed to the sun while exercising, gardening, walking the dog or taking in a baseball game. Spending time outside is a great way to get vitamin D, but you can work and play outside without raising your skin cancer risk by protecting your skin from the sun.

According to Mayo Clinic, the amount of sun exposure needed for adequate vitamin D production is uncertain, but most estimates are no more than 15 minutes a day between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., three times a week, depending on your skin type and risk of skin cancer.

Use the Mayo Clinic guidelines for exposure time and the Five S’s of Sun Safety ( to reduce your risk of sun damage and skin cancer:

  1. SLIP on a t-shirt
    • Clothing can be one of the most effective barriers.
    • It should cover as much skin as possible.
    • Wear higher Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rated fabric.
  2. SLOP on Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30+ broad spectrum Ultraviolet A (UVA) sunscreen
    • Make sure it is broad spectrum and carries a UVA symbol with a minimum of a 4-star rating.
    • Apply generously 20 minutes before going outdoors. Don’t forget to protect your lips by applying lip balm of SPF 30+ too!
    • All sunscreens should be reapplied at least every two hours and more often if sweating or after swimming.
  3. SLAP on a broad brimmed hat
    • Protect your face, neck, and ears with a broad brim like a bucket style hat that has a 7.5 cm brim.
    • A close weave or UPF rated fabric will provide better protection.
    • Baseball caps do not shade the ears and neck. Be sure they are protected.
  4. SLIDE on quality sunglasses
    • Overall protection depends on the quality of the lens. Price and darkness of the lens have no reflection on the quality of protection.
    • Look for the European CE mark which indicates a safe level of protection.
    • Ensure they are close fitting and wrap around to stop solar Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR) from entering the sides and top.
  5. SHADE from the sun whenever possible
    • Seek shade whenever possible, especially at the hottest time of the day, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. when UV penetration is strongest.
    • Don’t forget about the little ones. They should be in the shade whenever possible.
    • Never rely on shade alone. Always combine with personal protection measures.

If you are interested in learning more, Mayo Clinic Rochester will host the 8th Biennial Melanoma Education Symposium on Saturday, May 20, 2023. This half day educational event is designed for physicians, health care providers, survivors, patients, and their caregivers who are interested in exploring the essential health issues surrounding melanoma. The course will be offered live (in-person) and virtually via live streaming. This year's course will focus on updates on current therapies, wellness strategies, and mindfulness and resilience in this time of pandemic while living with cancer.

For all the information, including registration details, visit Melanoma Education Symposium 2023.

Interested in more newsfeed posts like this? Go to the Cancer Education blog.

Please sign in or register to post a reply.