Use these helpful tips to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays.

To no one’s surprise, sun exposure is the leading cause of skin cancer. Statistics from the Skin Cancer Foundation show that 65 percent of all melanoma cases are associated with exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. That same research also shows men over the age of 40 have the highest annual exposure to UV radiation. Men over the age of 50 comprise the majority of people diagnosed with melanoma, and it’s also one of only three cancers with an increasing mortality rate for men.

Here are a few things to remember before tackling the yard, hitting the links or casting a line

Recreational precautions

  • Apply sunscreen before you play, reapply every two hours or at the ninth hole. Don’t forget to apply on exposed scalp, the backs of hands, neck and ears.
  • Try to tee off at sunrise or late in the afternoon to avoid the sun when it’s most intense (10 am – 4 pm).
  • Between shots find some shade under a tree or in your cart.
  • Use a wide-brim hat to help shade your ears, face and neck. If temperatures allow, wear a long-sleeved shirt and pants.
  • Look for wraparound sunglasses that block UV radiation to protect eyes, eyelids and the surrounding area.
  • Treat overcast days like sunny ones, as up to 80 percent of UV rays can penetrate cloud cover.
  • It doesn’t matter if you are casting off the shore or in a boat, the same protections recommended for golfers work for anglers. Several studies have shown fishermen are at a high risk for skin disorders.
  • Try to find a shady area to cast from.
  • Sun reflecting off the water can burn you in areas you may not normally consider, like the backs of knees or under the chin.
  • The World Health Organization warns that every 3,200 ft. of elevation increases the intensity of UV rays by as much as 10 percent.