There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Cumulative sun exposure is a major risk factor for developing the first two types of skin cancer. But acute sunburns are often linked to melanoma. And while a bad sunburn will heal in a few days, the real damage may be felt decades later.
Everyone needs to protect their skin. In Southern California, 30 SPF (Sun Protection Factor) sunscreen, or higher, should be a daily ritual. Sunscreens should be broad spectrum and water resistant, and should be reapplied every few hours in wet or windy conditions. Some clothing also offers SPF protection.