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With warm weather knocking at our doors and the sun breaking through, everyone looks forward to spending more time outside. Farmers especially are hitting the fields to catch up on planting delayed by countless days of rain. 

Before spending hours under the sun, however, it's wise to take some precautions to avoid damage to your skin; damage that could prematurely age your skin, or worse yet, put you at risk for skin cancer.

With the approach of Memorial Day, which traditionally marks the beginning of sunny summer months when more people enjoy the outdoors, the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention (NCSP) has designated the Friday before Memorial Day, May 26, as “Don’t Fry Day” to encourage sun safety awareness.

Outdoor activities are a part of a healthy lifestyle and a necessary part of farm life. Taking the proper steps before heading out the door, whether to play or work in the field, helps shield your skin from the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays that damage skin and can cause skin cancer, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. 

Clothing is the first line of defense in protecting your skin from sun damage. The more skin covered, the better.

NCSP reminds people to Slip! Slop! Slap! and Wrap when outdoors. Slip on a shirt, slop on broad spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher, slap on a wide-brimmed hat and wrap on sunglasses. 

While we think about sun protection on the bright, sunny days, precautions need to be taken on overcast days as well. Up to 80 percent of UV rays can penetrate clouds, according to The Skin Cancer Foundation.

The American Cancer Society offer these tips for staying safe in the sun:

  • Cover up: When you are out in the sun, wear clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to protect as much skin as possible. Protect your eyes with sunglasses that block at least 99 percent of UV light.
  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher: Reapply at least every 2 hours, as well as after swimming or sweating.
  • Seek shade: Limit your direct exposure to the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV rays are strongest.
  • Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps: Both can cause serious long-term skin damage and contribute to skin cancer.

Additionally, CVS Pharmacy launched a new multi-platform Long Live Skin campaign on May 15 aimed at increasing awareness around skin health, sun safety and the importance of proper skincare.

The Long Live Skin campaign will start by focusing on proper sun safety during May, which is Skin Cancer Awareness Month.  The campaign will continue throughout the summer and will include in-store signage with information and tips on sun protection and skincare.

To learn more about the campaign, visit cvs.com/longliveskin.

To learn more about sun safety visit skincancer.orgcancer.org or skincancerprevention.org.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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