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News » Filed under: Sun Safety/Tanning
Sun Protection

‘Don’t Fry Day’ Is All About Healthy Skin

Article date: May 10, 2012

It’s natural to want to get out in the sun once the weather warms up. It should also be natural to take steps to protect your skin from the sun when you go outside. That’s why the Friday before Memorial Day is designated Don’t Fry Day – a day to raise awareness of sun safety and encourage everyone to take steps to protect their skin.

Ultraviolet rays – from the sun and other sources like tanning beds – are the primary cause of skin cancer, the most common cancer in the United States. Too much exposure can also cause sunburn, eye damage and premature wrinkles.

But shielding your skin with clothing, sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher, and shade can help lower your risk.

Take these steps to stay sun-safe:

  • Cover up: When you are out in the sun, wear clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to protect as much skin as possible. Protect your eyes with sunglasses that block at least 99% of UV light.
  • Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30: Be sure to reapply at least every 2 hours, as well as after swimming or sweating.
  • Seek shade: Limit your direct exposure to the sun, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV rays are strongest.
  • Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps: Both can cause serious long-term skin damage and contribute to skin cancer.

Parents and other caregivers should use these steps to protect children from excess sun exposure. Children need special attention because they tend to spend more time outdoors, can burn more easily, and may not be aware of the dangers. Sunburns during childhood increase the risk of melanoma and other skin cancers later in life. Older children need to be cautioned about sun exposure as they become more independent.

Two new studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn that young adults are increasing their risk for developing skin cancer. One study of people aged 18 - 29 found that 50% reported at least one sunburn in the past year. The other found that indoor tanning is still popular among young adults, with the highest rates of indoor tanning among white women aged 18 -25.

The American Cancer Society has lots of information on how to protect your skin at cancer.org/sunsafety, as well as a description of all our skin cancer prevention activities. Be sure to also check out our Expert Voices blog on tanning booths.

Many interactive tools are available to help you take care of your skin. The Environmental Protection Agency’s UV index helps you plan your time outside so you can avoid the most intense sunlight. Share photos of yourself practicing sun-safe behaviors on Facebook and Twitter, and post and receive messages about sun safety.

Remember, you don’t need to avoid the sun altogether. Just be sure to take the steps that can protect your skin – on Don’t Fry Day and every day.

Reviewed by: Members of the ACS Medical Content Staff

ACS News Center stories are provided as a source of cancer-related news and are not intended to be used as press releases. For reprint requests, please contact permissionrequest@cancer.org.

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