The Washington Post

Don’t Fry Day: Smart tips to prevent sunburn and skin cancer

Today is the annual “Don’t Fry Day” as designated by the EPA’s SunWise program and the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention. The following facts provided by the EPA should be reason enough to slap on the sunscreen and take the threat of skin cancer seriously:

*Skin cancer is the most common cancer.
*20-30-year-olds get skin cancer more than any other cancer.
*The incidence of many common cancers is falling, but the incidence of melanoma (the most serious form of skin cancer) continues to rise significantly, at a rate faster than that of any of the seven most common cancers.
*One American dies every hour from melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
*Approximately 76,000 new cases of melanoma will occur this year.

The good news is that skin cancer is preventable.

Here are some excellent tips from the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention:

Because no single step can fully protect you and your family from overexposure to UV radiation, follow as many of the following tips as possible:

*Do Not Burn or Tan
*Seek Shade
*Wear Sun-Protective Clothing
*Generously Apply Sunscreen
*Use Extra Caution Near Water, Snow, and Sand
*Get Vitamin D Safely

In a study released Thursday, May 10, 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says half of adults under 30 say they've had a sunburn at least once in the past year. Experts worry it's a sign young people aren't paying much attention to warnings about skin cancer, including the deadliest kind. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter) (J Pat Carter/AP)

Anytime you’re planning to be outdoors, go with an SPF of at least 30 (45 for a little extra insurance) and put plenty on. The rule of thumb is 1 ounce (the size of a shot glass) on your body, and a teaspoon for your face, but derms advise being even more generous.

Reapply every two hours -- more often if you’re in and out of the water.

The story also talks about spray sunscreens:

Spray sunscreens aren’t as powerful as lotions, so the trick is to look for one labeled “continuous spray” (no need to pump; it keeps spraying as long as your finger stays on the button) and apply two coats -- not one -- every hour

Screenshot of UV Index mobile app (EPA)

Related Links:
Action Steps for Sun Safety
Sun Safety Vacation Packing List
UV Index Forecasts
SunWise for Kids: UV Index
UV Index Scale

Dan Stillman is a meteorologist and editor for the Capital Weather Gang. He earned an M.S. in Meteorology from Texas A&M University, and a B.S. in Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences from the University of Michigan.


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