Beach safety tips: Survey reveals sun-safe behavior is lacking

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NEW YORK—A recent survey showed that 40 percent of people never wear sunscreen, and those who do wear sunscreen are not re-applying frequently enough. A survey by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Media conducted for iVillage in partnership with The Skin Cancer Foundation revealed only 28 percent of people who use sunscreen are reapplying it every two hours.

“We want people to enjoy their summer vacations,” said Perry Robins, M.D., president, The Skin Cancer Foundation. "We just need to educate them on how to do so safely.”

The Skin Cancer Foundation ( recommends the following beach sun safety tips:

Apply sunscreen before putting on your bathing suit. Use a generous amount (2 tablespoons or more) of water-resistant sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15 all over. Not only will it protect the skin under the bathing suit, but you are less likely to miss spots and end up with a line of sunburn along the edges of your bathing suit. Don’t forget the tops of your feet. The sunscreen should be applied 30 minutes before heading outside and reapplied every two hours or after swimming or sweating excessively.

Cover up with clothing. If you are not swimming, keep yourself covered with a tightly-woven, wide-brimmed hat, UV protective sunglasses and a beach cover-up. A tightly-woven linen or cotton cover-up with long sleeves and pants is best. Darker/brighter colors provide more sun protection than white or pale colors. Many beach shops carry options that will keep you protected and stylish. Brightly colored long sarongs are another good option for women.

Watch the time. The sun is strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so try an early morning or late afternoon trip to the beach. You'll avoid the crowds (and traffic) and have the beach more to yourself. And, you’ll get to enjoy the calm of daybreak or a stunning sunset. If you do spend the entire day at the beach, then be sure to take periodic “shade breaks” when eating lunch or snacks.

The first organization in the U.S. committed to educating the public and medical professionals about sun safety, The Skin Cancer Foundation is still the only global organization solely devoted to the prevention, detection and treatment of skin cancer. The mission of the Foundation is to decrease the incidence of skin cancer through public and professional education and research. For more information, visit, or call 1-800-SKIN-490.

About this poll

This survey was conducted in telephone interviews from May 11-13, 2007. A total of 1,004 interviews were completed with 521 female adults and 483 male adults. The margin of error for this study is ± 3 percentage points and is higher for subgroups.

The poll was conducted in conjunction with the leading women's website, iVillage at

from the Aug 15-21, 2007, issue

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