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Sleeves, Shade your Best Bet for Sun Protection

12:12 PM, May 24, 2011   |    comments
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With Memorial Day just around the corner, expect more of those  "how to protect yourself from sun" messages to pop up.

And the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention has designated this Friday - May 27 - as "Don't Fry Day," encouraging people to protect their skin while spending time outdoors.

The Environmental Protection Agency, a member of the council,  has developed a program called SunWise, which aims to teach  children and their caregivers how to protect themselves from overexposure, SunWise suggests four simple steps:

  • Slip on a shirt
  • Slop on SPF 15+ sunscreen generously
  • Slap on a hat
  • Wrap on sunglasses

The Environmental Working group agrees that covering up is the way to go, because sunscreens alone cannot prevent cancer. That one of the messages in the group's  latest sunscreen report.

The advocacy group encourages people to find shade, wear sun-protective clothing like hats, and avoid sun at its peak (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) as a first line of defense against the harmful UVA and UVB rays, but also encourages the use of sunscreens.

The group says that even though sunscreens come with ever-higher SPF-levels, that does not really mean one can safely stay in the sun longer.  EWG has put together a list of recommended sunscreens as well as what it is calling the "Hall of Shame," listing many products they believe make misleading or confusing claims.

The Personal Care Products Council disagrees with this new report and the group's rating system.

"EWG's assertions about the safety and efficacy of sunscreen products and ingredients lack the rigor and reliability of formal, expert evaluation, are not peer-reviewed, and confuse and alarm consumers," said Farah Ahmed, chair of the Personal Care Products Council Sunscreen Task Force, in a written statement to CNN.

"Consumers can be confident that the sunscreen products they rely on for protection against the harmful effects of the sun are both safe and effective," he said.  "Sunscreen products have been thoroughly studied and tested by qualified scientists and regulatory authorities throughout the world."

In addition to declaring "Don't Fry Friday," the skin cancer council, whose members also include the American Cancer Society  and the American Academy of Dermatology, has  more tips to help prevent sunburns and skin damage, such as:

  • Check the UV forecast before planning outdoor activities
  • Apply a 15+ SPF 20 minutes before you go outside
  • Select products with UVA filters like avobenzone and octocrylene, as well as protection against UVB rays,  and apply sunscreen every two hours when you're outside.
  • Protect your eyes by wearing wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses with both UVA and UVB protection 

CNN

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