Sleeves, shade your best bet for sun protection
May 23rd, 2011
06:21 PM ET

Sleeves, shade your best bet for sun protection

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.

IReport: You showed us your worst sunburns

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and efficacy of sunscreen products and ingredients lack the rigor and reliability of formal, expert evaluation, are not peer-reviewed, and confuse and alarm consumers," said Farah Ahmed, chair of the Personal Care Products Council Sunscreen Task Force, in a written statement to CNN.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

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soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. randy crawford

    If you can't be bothered to protect yourself from the sun, at least have the decency to protect your kids. When children are young and get sunburned too often, they are at extremely increased risk for MALIGNANT MELANOMA skin cancer, which is often in its fatal form by the time it is detected and diagnosed decades later. That's how Ronald Reagan's daughter Maureen died– melanoma thanks to the California sun.

    May 23, 2011 at 18:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CLS88

      Your duaghter was diagnosed with melanoma because the sunscreen you applied did NOTHING to block UVA radiation.

      That and the fact your sunscreen contained retinyl derivatives.

      Go look at the lable- the old stuff – not the new. See what it lacks in UVA protection and its compnents made from retinyl palmitate.

      Than ask yourself how that could EVER have been approved by the AMA and the derms et al?

      May 25, 2011 at 01:22 | Report abuse |
    • CLS88

      She died because the body's melanoma fighter- vitamin D, was banned from the doctors garbage advice.

      These dostors know nothing about vitamin D.

      But now they fear it like NOTHING else.

      Who the heck needs a doctor if you never, ever get sick?

      May 25, 2011 at 01:24 | Report abuse |
  2. CLS88

    Melanoma rates have increased 300% since 1974 and the widespread use of sun blocks.

    Who doesn't know that?

    C'mon AMA and derms, set the record straight?.

    FIRST...due no harm?

    Melanoma rates are higher- highest among INDOOR WORKERS.

    Melanoma rates have remained the same- and lower- amongst outside workers.

    Melanoma is the outcome of prolonged UVA exposure with deficienct/insufficient circulating vitamin D.

    May 24, 2011 at 00:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cathy W

      Melanoma rates have gone up at the same time sunscreens have gone up, a the same time that people started using tanning beds at the same time that more and more people started working indoors. It's not a simple cause and effect relationship.

      May 24, 2011 at 10:32 | Report abuse |
  3. CLS88

    The ONLY people in my age demographic I know, personally, who have early onset chronic diseases, are the ones who wear sun screen like a second skin.

    WIthout exception.

    If you ignore your vitamin D levels plan on being fat, miserable, and perpetually doctor's office bound.

    I have not been sick in 6 years sicne I wwas clued in and have the phyisology of a 32 year old- 20 years less than my age.

    So does every single person I know wh osi vitamin D healthy. NONE of the mhave been sick in years.

    Go checkk your telomeric aging and learn that those with the highest circulating vitamin D are on average 5-7 years "younger" than the birth certificate.

    Vitamin D holds the current record for lessening telomeric aging.

    Fear the sun?

    FEAR the AMA's iatrogenisis!

    Melanoma deaths per year in the U.S.: 8200

    Vitamin D deficiency related deaths: 400,000+

    May 24, 2011 at 00:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dragonwife

      I'm very fair-skinned and burn after a very short time in the sun – VERY short. I can get a bad sunburn on my arm just from it being on the sunny side of the car on my 20-minute drive home. I also have a low tolerance for heat (anything over 80 and I start developing heat exhaustion), so covering up in the sun isn't an option. Since sunscreen is obviously horrible for me (in your opinion), any other suggestions about how to prevent burning, blistering, and peeling? Oh, by the way, I'm also in my late 50s, look like I'm in my early 40s, my vitamin D levels are fine despite my religious use of sunscreen, and I'm rarely sick.

      May 24, 2011 at 11:36 | Report abuse |
    • JD

      you do realize that there are ways to get vitamin D without being unprotected in the sun, correct? like through diet and, failing that, supplements? i wear SPF 15+ when i'm working indoors and 100+ when I'm outdoors every day and i'm very rarely sick...but i also eat 7-8 servings of fruits and veggies each day, eat meat only 2-3 times per week, take a vitamin D supplement, and exercise at least 45 minutes EVERY day. i think your "conclusion" isn't very inclusive of other information.

      May 24, 2011 at 11:58 | Report abuse |
    • CLS88


      Check your vitamin D score- I'll guarentee it's under 40 ng/ml, 25 OH D.

      Your burning skin is a result of too low vitamin D levels. Even with fair skin you should not be burning at that limited esposure.

      Remember MOST sun screens do nothing to protect from UVA rays- the real villan in melanoma.

      It was recently discovered that repletion levels of vitamin D will proetct against sunburn- to a great extent.

      May 25, 2011 at 01:06 | Report abuse |
    • CLS88


      I know a thousand X more about vitamin D than either you or your doctor.

      How can I prove this?

      Simply by citing your statement about food and diet being a relaible source of vitamin D, other than supplementing.

      Diet is NEVER, NEVER, EVER reliable source of vitamin D. Anyone who ascribes to that notion is an ignorant tool. Such persons would be laughed out of the room in any serious discussion.

      The fatc of the matetr is that sunscreen use is associated with melanoma diagnosi.


      Sunscreens were an invention of chemical companies and were NEVER tested.

      Look at the melanoma facts- the rates of increase solely amongst sun screen wearers and indoor workers, and then smarten up!

      The AMA blew it completely and there are millions of children who are incubating vitami nD deficiency diseases in the decades ahead.

      May 25, 2011 at 01:11 | Report abuse |
  4. POD

    You know you can do all the right things, all the time, all your life......BUT guess what.....you are still going to die....and for most it will be a painful, scary and ugly experience. Very very very few of us are going to ascend into heaven in a state of pristine beauty

    May 24, 2011 at 12:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mikeloz1971

      what's that old saying?? " I'd rather die from something than nothing at all"? lol...
      fear the sun people hahahah... no!!!! not really... so what did they do for sunscreen 100 years ago in NM, NV, Mexico, southern CA, FL, Costa Rica lol the list goes on and on... sunscreen is a waste of money... too hot?? find a tree! lol..

      May 24, 2011 at 13:11 | Report abuse |
  5. moon

    I dont understand why Americans crave plenty of sunshine all year round..and why sunny days are beautiful..
    May be reasonable for folks in Ohio

    BUT I am an European living in Dallas,TX where the summers are brutal and lasts for almost nine months..It irks me every time a Texan neighbor complains of clody day or a rare snow day..

    May 24, 2011 at 14:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • neilj

      If you hate the Southern summers, why don't you go back to Europe or at least move up north somewhere.
      We are tired of your whining.

      May 24, 2011 at 15:19 | Report abuse |
    • ScubaDeb


      moon was not saying he hated Southern summers. What he said was when it's not sunny, which is rare, his neighbors complain instead of welcoming the variety in the weather. Comprehension is a good thing!

      May 24, 2011 at 15:40 | Report abuse |
    • Denizen Kate

      Day after day of gray skies and rain can be depressing. Why do you think the suicide rate is measurably higher in places like Portland and Seattle? Also, I enjoy driving with the top down on the car, and for that i need a sunny day.

      Incidentally, why do you live in Dallas?

      May 24, 2011 at 18:17 | Report abuse |
    • moon

      thx scuba...

      @kate..thats exactly my point..It makes sense if people from seattle or far north pray for sunlight..

      but Texans cursing occassional rain and single annual day of snow fall? The sunlight is so intense here it actually pinchees like needles..

      May 24, 2011 at 21:42 | Report abuse |
    • CLS88

      You neighbor's, America's, and my teeth are better than yours.

      Any other statements?

      May 25, 2011 at 01:13 | Report abuse |
  6. Conrad Shull

    Existence kills! It must be stopped, now!

    May 24, 2011 at 15:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Conrad Shull

    You do know, don't you, that Mayor Bloomberg WILL make it illegal to allow children to be exposed to sun in NYC parks.

    May 24, 2011 at 15:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Phoneitin

    And to get your clothing to have a higher SPF protection level, Rit sells a product, SunGuard that's a powder that you put in with clothes to be washed. Works great and is MUCH cheaper than buying the sun protective clothes from the specialty vendors. May have to buy SunGuard online though. I can't find it in the drug stores anymore. But many places online have it available.

    May 24, 2011 at 16:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Ironhouse

    Put on a long sleeve shirt or put on a chemical solution that is powerful enough to stop something as powerful as the sun, but somehow not harm me...tough call.

    May 24, 2011 at 17:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. mother of four

    Wear sleeves and a hat out in the sun on 90 degree days. Really? So instead of getting a sunburn you keel over from heat exhaustion?

    I am forty-five and have fair skin. The only time I burn is if I'm on the water so when I swim or boat, I wear sunblock. Otherwise on a normal day–I go out normally dressed and do what i want without so much as turning pink Why? Moderate sun exposure built up over the course of the spring every year. By mid-summer I can go out when I want to. It's that simple. I grew up in Texas, spent my summers by the pool and outside. My parents–both elderly, fair skinned, and skin-cancer free–taught me this one. It's a 'well duh' thing. Our sons have been taught the same thing. Sunburns are extremely rare in this house.

    Sunblock has stuff in it that's BAD in it and it is responsible for our vitamin D deficient culture. We have become unnecessarily paranoid about the sun and it shows. Instead of using our heads, we've embraced "easy fixes" that aren't good for us.

    May 24, 2011 at 21:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CLS88

      Mother of Four:

      T oreduce your chance of sunburning in the spring- after 6 months of miserable wetaher and clouds, simply do the following:

      Raise and maintain your vitami nD level to at least 50 ng/ml, 25 OHD, by supplementation, prior to getting spring sun.

      You will burn MUCH, MUCH, MUCH less than any year(s) previously. This is a newly discovered fact and it workd, hands down, on every type of skin.

      I don't care a hoot what your doctor says, he/she doesn't have 10% of my vitamin D knowledge.

      Oh and by the way?

      Doing this will eliminate colds and flu i nthe winter- gone- forever.

      The reason their are few- if any cold/flu infections in summer is completely due to higher vitamin D levels from increased sun exposure.


      May 25, 2011 at 01:18 | Report abuse |
  11. Fiona

    There is evidence that sunscreen kills coral polyps. Think of all those vacationing snorkelers slathering themselves in sunscreen and plunging into the once-crystal waters of Hawaii and other over-used reef areas. Buy a UV protective rash guard (swim shirt) and skip the chemicals when you swim around coral!

    CLS88, as someone who has lost two family members to melanoma...could you please do some research? You have no idea what you are talking about.

    May 25, 2011 at 02:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CLS88

      I have and the evidence is clear. Doctor recs and sunscreens resulted in surging melanoma rates.

      Vitamin D deficiency diseases kill, unfortunately, 100 X that of melanoma.

      Melanoma rates have increased ONLY amongst indoor workers.

      You do understand that?

      The AMA has painted itself into a VERY dark corner. The iatrogenic nonesense of avoiding the sun at all costs is plainly ridiculous.

      Look at the other- opposing view- in regards to melanoam diagnosis? You will be as shocked as me when you see the real facts.

      Melanoma rates are up 300% since the mid 70's and the widespread use of sunscreens.

      Look it up!!!

      On second thought, I'll do it for you...see below.


      Melanoma diagnosed patients with higher levels of vitamin D live longer, with better quality of life, than those who are deficient..

      May 26, 2011 at 11:17 | Report abuse |
  12. Bobby

    CLS88, you are obviously fanatical about your vitamin D. It might have given you superpowers as you "claim", but unfortunately it did nothing to improve your manners , and to be respectful of others.

    May 25, 2011 at 06:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. adam

    Hello CNN? Farah Ahmed is all woman. There's no mistaking it.She is totally STUNNING. Let's get some accurate reporting here!

    May 25, 2011 at 10:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dale

      i met her before she is really beautiful and nice

      May 26, 2011 at 07:35 | Report abuse |
  14. lilly

    Thank you CNN for this article and coverage! I'm glad that Farah Ahmed said what she did about SPF...

    May 27, 2011 at 12:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Taher

    for u only

    May 29, 2011 at 16:37 | Report abuse | Reply
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    Jessy May God bless you. Good to hear that you are on the way.I am ergounace to hear that you are continuing your ministryMay God lead to Him many people trough your preaching. Anatol Cahul MD.

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