With more than 2 million Americans diagnosed with skin cancer annually, Environmental Working Group and innovative sun protection companies are launching a public education campaign to make sun safety as essential as seat belts in the minds of the public.
Launched jointly with leading dermatologists and 16 sunscreen makers, the EWG Sun Safety Campaign seeks to lower skin cancer rates through a tech-savvy, high-impact social media campaign designed to resonate with every age group.
The campaign's website contains much helpful material people can use and share with their family, friends and social networks. It includes tips on how to pick the safest, most effective sunscreens and information on the hidden damage of the sun's ultraviolet rays.
The campaign is based on facts gleaned from decades of scientific research. It concludes that the best defenses against getting too much harmful ultraviolet radiation are protective clothing, shade, timing and safer and more effective sunscreens.
In coming months, the campaign and its partners will publicize actions people can take to protect themselves.
1. Know that not all sunscreens are equal.
Choose the safest, most effective sunblock products by consulting EWG's online guide to sunscreens.
2. Get regular skin checks for new moles that are tender or growing.
Ask your primary care doctor how often you should see a dermatologist.
3. Don't get burned.
Red, sore, blistered or peeling skin means far too much sun — and raises your skin cancer risk.
4. Wear clothes.
Shirts, hats, shorts and pants provide the best protection from UV rays — and they don't coat your skin with goop.
5. Find shade — or make it.
Picnic under a tree, read beneath an umbrella, take a canopy to the beach. Keep infants in the shade — they lack the tanning pigments known as melanin to protect their skin.
6. Plan around the sun.
Go outdoors in early morning or late afternoon, when the sun is lower. UV radiation peaks at midday.
7. Remember that sunglasses aren't just a fashion accessory.
Good shades protect your eyes from UV radiation that causes cataracts.