GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. While packing up food for a July 4th picnic, dermatologists remind people to bring sunscreen along as well.
Colorado has some of the highest rates of skin cancer in the country as a result of the higher elevation, thinner air and number of sunny days.
"In Colorado we're a little bit closer to the sun so the rays are a little bit stronger to us," said Dr. Amy Paul, a Grand Junction dermatologist.
Dr. Paul said people should slather on a sunscreen every day with SPF 30 to SPF 50 that also contains zinc or titanium.
Just getting a tan or even one bad sunburn can set someone up for skin cancer later in life.
"Your melanocytes which are pigment cells are the ones that produce pigment and they also can turn into melanoma which is a deadly form of skin cancer," Dr. Paul said. "We've seen it rise in melanoma rates for all ages especially younger people."
Hats, sunglasses and clothes are also helpful for protecting the body from harmful ultra-violet rays.