You garden, you play outside with your kids, you picnic. All good things as long as you know your skin -- and how it reacts to the sun. The fairer you are, the more at risk you are of getting burned. You'll know this if you pass tan and go directly to burn and blister. "If you're really fair, find the highest SPF number you can -- like 45 or even 60," says Michele S. Green, a New York City dermatologist.
And people with a personal or family history of skin cancer should use extreme caution -- and cover up -- when outdoors. "If you have a history of melanoma in your family, you're at risk of getting it yourself," says Vermen M. Verallo-Rowell, clinical and research dermatologist in San Francisco.
In fact, while most skin cancers are caused solely by sun exposure, having a parent or sibling who had melanoma (the deadliest kind) means you have a 50 percent greater chance of developing it, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Regardless of family history, always keep an eye on your skin and see a dermatologist right away if you see any changes in moles or freckles. Many insurance policies will cover annual skin cancer screenings.
Continued on page 3: Play it smart.