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Protect Yourself: Science Says Sunscreen Not Enough

Common knowledge tells us that slathering on sunscreen for a day at the beach is the best way to prevent sun damage, but a new study reveals that it may not be enough to ward off skin cancer. <a title="BBC Health" href="http://www.bbc.com/news/health-27793354" target="_blank">A new study</a> from Manchester University and the Institute of Cancer Research shows that the ultraviolet (UV) radiation responsible for the deadliest types of skin cancer can penetrate even the strongest sunscreen. Scientists say that it’s long been known that UV rays cause cancer, but were unaware that sunscreen failed to offer complete protection. So, what are sun lovers supposed to do? <strong>1. Don’t stop using sunscreen!</strong> A lack of full protection is still a far cry from <em>no protection</em>. Sunscreen has its place in your arsenal; you just need to add a few other things to strengthen your defenses. Doctors recommend sunscreen of at least 15SPF, but the ratings still matter, too – a higher SPF will provide more protection. <strong>2. Consider some additional clothing.</strong> Okay, so a parka might defeat the purpose of sunbathing, but there are always options. A nice floppy hat (or Tilly, for the fellas) is a great place to start. A kaftan or other kind of wrap can be a great help for temporary relief during the most intense daylight hours, or just a loose T-shirt if you want to keep it simple. <strong>3. Keep a sun umbrella on hand.</strong> No oasis is complete without a little slice of shade. A <a title="Beach Umbrellas" href="http://www.atgstores.com/patio-umbrellas_1214.html?atb=attr_umbrella_style=|beach|" target="_blank">portable sun umbrella</a> for the beach and a <a title="Patio Umbrellas" href="http://www.atgstores.com/patio-umbrellas_1188.html?linkloc=tn" target="_blank">patio umbrella</a> for the backyard will keep you covered while away and at home. <strong>4. Limit your time in the sun.</strong> This is not the most exciting choice, but again your options fall on a spectrum. You don’t have to stay shuttered indoors all day long while everyone else has all the fun. You could avoid peak hours or just take a few more breaks in the shade than you normally might. <strong>5. Remember: Cloudy days can <em>intensify</em> the UV radiation that causes sun damage.</strong> Yeah, that’s for real. It’s pretty science-y stuff and has something to do with optical cloud depth, refraction and other atmospheric trickery, as explained <a title="American Scientist " href="http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/pub/sunshine-on-a-cloudy-day" target="_blank">here</a> in <em>American Scientist</em>, but the point is this: Clouds will not save you and in fact can harm you, so be careful. At the end of the (sunny) day, though, all we hope is that you enjoy your time in the sun this summer without getting burned.
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