Minimize skin cancer risk in sunny Southern California

May 08, 2014

In sunny Southern California, we can enjoy outdoor activities all year. But the sunshine has a dark side, say UCI Health skin experts

“We are lucky to live in a place with such beautiful weather year-round, but the constant exposure to sunlight also puts us at a higher risk to develop skin cancer with the more time we spend in the sun,” says UCI Health dermatologist Dr. Janellen Smith.

“You can enjoy the wonderful Southern California sunshine but you have to be smart about it,” adds Smith, a clinical professor of dermatology at the UC Irvine School of Medicine.

She advises the following:

  • Avoid the sun during peak hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
  • Apply sunscreen
  • Wear sun-protective clothing, tightly woven clothing is also protective
  • Use sunscreen that contains avobenzone, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide or mexoryl, which are best at protecting the skin from the damaging ultraviolet rays of sun light

Smith says some companies also make clothing with a sun protection factor rating.

May is Melanoma and Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month. UCI Health wants to improve your chances of living a long and healthy life — know your risks and get checked out.