In the United States, 80 percent of people favor staying at home during the pandemic. However, summer temperatures over the weekend of April 25 drew thousands of Southern California residents out to their local beaches to soak up the sun.

Getting back into the sunlight not only feels fantastic but is essential for producing vitamin D, a crucial ingredient for a robust immune system. However, too much exposure can lead to skin cancer, which is the world’s most common form of cancer. In fact, 20 percent of Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they turn 70 years old.

Despite how common it is, skin cancer can be avoided by taking the right steps. By avoiding laying out, the sun’s most harmful hours, and indoor tanning, you can prevent skin cancer even while enjoying the warmth of the outdoors.

Laying out

Every time you tan, you increase your risk of getting skin cancer. If you want your skin to glow for a special event, consider using an FDA-approved sunless tanning product. Available in creams, lotions, and sprays, the formulas simulate a tan before wearing off after a few days. For best results, a helpful tip is to exfoliate your skin before applying.

Midday sun

The rays of the sun are at their peak between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. That doesn’t mean you have to stay indoors during the middle of the day, though. Swap out your baseball cap for a wide-brimmed hat that protects your face, ears, and neck. In addition to sunscreen, consider wearing sleeves and pants made out of light and breathable fabrics to keep your skin safe.

Indoor tanning

Just because it’s removed from the sun doesn’t mean indoor tanning is any safer. The people who participate in frequent indoor tanning have an 83 percent greater risk of developing skin cancer than someone who has never used indoor tanning. That’s because the UV radiation emitted from indoor tanning is 10 to 15 times greater than the sun. Your best bet is to avoid exposing yourself to any harmful environments that could have long-lasting effects on your skin.

Even in—or especially in—times of trial, we crave the sun. By playing it smart when it comes to laying out, exposure to the midday sun, and indoor tanning, you can help reduce your risk of skin cancer and ensure a healthier future.