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Sun Day School: Skin Cancer Protection Tips

How you apply sunscreen, the lifestyle choices you make, and even the foods you eat can determine how well your skin stands up to UV rays. To help boost your protection and reduce your risk of sunburn, wrinkles, and skin cancer, try these derm-approved moves.
Woman on the beach Make Over Your Medicine Cabinet

Popping an OTC pain reliever might soothe sore muscles, but it can also leave you with lasting sun damage. Light particles may react with chemicals in certain pain relievers, making skin more sun sensitive, says Jordana S. Gilman, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. "The biggest culprit is naproxen," she says. "But the effect has been reported with ibuprofen as well." Some antibiotics, contraceptives, topical retinoids, diuretics, and antidepressants can also heighten sun sensitivity. Talk to your doctor and check your meds for their potential side effects. To play it safe, reapply SPF every two hours, switch to a more sun-safe pain reliever like acetaminophen and ask your doc about less photosensitizing prescription drugs.