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Survey finds people letting sun protection slide

Photo: Ridofranz/iStockphoto

Rosemont, IL — Although more than 3 out of 4 people believe protecting themselves from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays is an important health habit, only 41% regularly practice sun safety, results of a recent survey show.

Research consultant Edelman Intelligence, on behalf of the American Academy of Dermatology, surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults about their skin health habits. About one-quarter (28%) of the respondents said they rarely or never use sun protection, and 65% didn’t know that shade offers protection from UV rays.

Exposure to the sun’s UV rays is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer, according to AAD, which recommends:

  • Seeking shade, especially when the sun is at its strongest, which is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • Wearing sun-protective clothing, which can include pants, lightweight and long-sleeved shirts, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses with UV protection.
  • Applying water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to all skin not covered by clothes. When sweating or swimming, reapply every two hours.

“It only takes a few simple steps to protect your skin from UV, and it could save your life,” AAD President Bruce H. Thiers, a board-certified dermatologist, said in an April 28 press release. “It is estimated that more than 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every day, and nearly 20 Americans die every day from melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.”

AAD released the survey results April 28 in advance of Skin Cancer Awareness Month, which is observed in May.

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