Fear of Frying?

Published 7:47 pm Monday, May 1, 2006

By By Mary-Allison Lancaster – Editor
Skin cancer is the most commonly occurring cancer in the United States. With the sun shining and the warm weather, many people will feel tempted to stay outside for longer periods of time or head to the beach to relax and have fun in the sun.
However, no matter how tempting the weather is, there are certain precautions you need to take if you plan to spend several hours in the sun.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, one of the most beneficial protections from the sun is sunscreen.
Most people benefit from sunscreens with SPF numbers of 15 or more. The SPF number gives you some idea of how long you can stay in the sun without burning.
For example, if you burn in 10 minutes without sunscreen and you apply a liberal dose with a SPF number of 15, you should be protected from sunburn for 150 minutes.
Sunscreens with SPF numbers higher than 15 may work better for people who are fair-skinned, live at high altitudes, work or play outdoors much of the day, or perspire heavily.
Swimming and perspiration reduce the actual SPF value of many sunscreens - even those that are water-resistant - so you have to reapply the product often.
Although sunscreens with identical SPF numbers give you equivalent sunburn protection from UVB rays, no sunscreen product screens out all UVA rays.
Some may advertise UVA protection, but there is no system to rate UVA protection yet.
While sunscreen is a great way to decrease the risk of getting skin cancer, there are numerous other sun safety tips everyone should follow.