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Less Sun a Better Bet Than Sunscreens

Posted: May 3, 2007

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And waterproof or water-resistant sunscreens should be used to reduce the need for reapplication after swimming followed by toweling, friction with clothing or sand, and sweating, Lautenschlager's group noted.

Weinstock thinks that SPF factor is the most important consideration when choosing a sunscreen. "I recommend SPF 30 or greater," he said.

Lautenschlager's group warned that while studies have found that sunscreens protect against acute UV skin damage and nonmelanoma skin cancers, it's not clear whether they help protect against melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer.

"The population has to be advised how to best make use of sunscreens," the authors wrote. "The application of a liberal quantity of sunscreen is, by far, the most important factor for effectiveness of the sunscreen, followed by the uniformity of application and the specific absorption spectrum of the agent used."

Dr. Doris Day, a dermatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, offers another safety rule to minimize your exposure to UV rays.