Welcome to the South, home of sunshine and hot summers. Here it is vital to understand the hazards that can occur with too much sun exposure. The experts at River Region Dermatology share their top tips for saving your skin.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer diagnosed in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 2 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer in the United States annually. More than 90% of skin cancers are caused by excessive exposure to the sun, with indoor tanning also emerging as a leading cause of skin cancer.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends everyone, regardless of skin tone, use sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection, an SPF of 30 or greater, and water resistance. Sunscreen comes in a variety of forms. Products that require being rubbed into the skin are preferred— this ensures you are getting good coverage.

Skin cancer can form anywhere on the body, even if it is not in direct sunlight. It is common for individuals with darker pigmented skin to get skin cancer on the palms of their hands, feet, and nails. It is even possible to develop skin cancer in the eyes— keep your ray-protecting sunglasses handy.

It may seem like a lot of work initially, but it’s worth it. The sooner you start caring for your skin, the better. Most skin cancers can be cured when caught early on—you should regularly monitor yourself for any changes in moles or newly developed moles.

Dr. Porcia Bradford Love is a board-certified dermatologist and the founder of River Region Dermatology and Laser. Callie Renahan Mitchell is a medical assistant at River Region Dermatology and Laser.