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The dangers of UV rays

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One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.

Now during UV Awareness Month, we're helping you cut your family's risk.

The rays tempt and tantalize as Breighana Knittel and her daughters hit the beach.

But this mom is well aware of the danger.

"Skin cancer runs in the family and I don't want to take that risk, especially with my kids."

When Bobby Jackson was growing up, he didn't know about sun protection.

His skin now shows the consequences.

"And I'm not exaggerating, it's probably 40 or 50 places over the years that have either burned, frozen or cut off."

The letters 'SPF' are everywhere.

But dermatologist Dr. Sean Branch says there are still a lot of myths about the sun and your skin.

The biggest one, a 'base tan' will protect you from burning later.

"In order for your body to produce a tan to begin with, there has to be DNA damage at the cellular level."

So sun protection is needed all the time.

To bust some other myths, we asked Breighana to help us with a little quiz.

She started off the day right, putting sunscreen on her kids 15 minutes before going outside.

Question number one, how often should you re-apply?

"I'm assuming every hour."

Actually, it's every two hours, but Dr. Branch says many people don't re-apply at all, putting themselves at risk.

Question number two, is a higher SPF number really better?

"I do think that makes a difference."

Correct, and the higher the better.

While 'SPF 30' blocks more than 97 percent of harmful rays, the extra protection is 'SPF 60' cuts the remaining risk to your skin in half.

Make sure the words 'Broad Spectrum' are on the label, to protect yourself against both UVA and UVB rays.

Don't worry about the brand name, just take Bobby Jackson's advice and use it consistently.

"I don't wear aftershave lotion anymore, I wear sunscreen."

The doctor says some people are concerned about chemicals in sunscreens, like oxybenzone.

If you want to avoid them, there are lots of mineral blockers like zinc and titanium dioxide.

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