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Wellness Center

Avoiding sun

03/28/2007

Question:

My understanding is that to avoid the long-term harmful effects of sun, there should be a two-fold approach -- avoiding the sun between peak hours and also using sunscreen. But how can I convince my friends to do the first? My kids and I have sensitive skin so we definitely use sunscreen, as do all our friends. But everyone wants to meet at the pool/park at noon. Going to the pool or park in the peak hours even with sunscreen causes us to turn to lobsters plus I know causes long-term damage. So how do we not turn into social isolates?

Answer:

It is clear that you understand the significance of sun exposure that results in skin damage.  I would urge you to find a pool or park that has shade or pavilions where you can have your get together.   A number of swimming pools may be indoors or have canopies over them.  I would shop for such.  Also be sure that you do wear a sunscreen that does not wash away well without soap and water.  Your pharmacist can help you select a high SPF number that will help you.

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Response by:

Charles L Heaton, MD
Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati