The single most important prevention technique is daily sun protection. Wear a broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB blocking) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater on all exposed skin, all year-round.
Apply to your face, earlobes, neck, upper chest, back of hands and forearms 20 minutes before sun exposure and reapply every 2 hours if outside, or after swimming, sweating, or towel drying.
Avoid mid-day sun exposure. Do not stay in the sun for extended periods of time, even if you have sunscreen on. No sun block can screen all damaging rays. Wear protective clothing if possible – a broad-brimmed hat, tightly-woven long-sleeve shirt, long pants, and UV blocking sunglasses.
If you will be in the water – use water resistant (not water proof) sunscreen, which remains active for 80 minutes in the water. If you tend to have acne, waterproof sunscreens may worsen acne. In this case, use regular sunscreen and apply more often.
If you use indoor sunless tanning creams or spray (which are safe and effective “dyes” for your skin color), remember they only provide minimal protection.
Do not use tanning beds! Thirty minutes in the tanning bed equals one day at the beach on a sunny day. They are not safer than the sun. The UVA primarily used does not cause sunburns, but does destroy collagen (causing wrinkling, sagging, and leathery appearance) and can cause skin cancer. It is possible to be burnt in a tanning bed.