NADINE KAM / NKAM@STARBULLETIN.COM
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Suntan is no longer a fashion statement
Only a minority believes it is attractive, a survey found
A new survey shows that the appeal of tanned skin may be waning.
Fifty three percent of Americans who participated say they don't look better with a tan and 63 percent say they are not more attracted to someone who is tan, according to a recent survey by iVillage in partnership with The Skin Cancer Foundation. Another 69 percent do not think a tan makes them look slimmer.
The survey was conducted in telephone interviews from May 11 to 13, 2007. A total of 1,004 interviews were completed with 521 female adults and 483 male adults.
"These findings are encouraging," said Perry Robins, president of The Skin Cancer Foundation. "Once people stop linking their self esteem to tanned skin, we will really begin making headway in the fight against skin cancer."
Even so, Robins said there is still a lot of work to be done because a large percentage of people never use sunscreen in spite of knowing about its ability to prevent skin damage.
Kinerase Lotion with SPF 30 contains titanium dioxide and zinc oxide for UVA and UVB protection, at $135 for a 2.8 ounce tube at Sephora. It's recommended by The Skin Cancer Foundation.
The same survey revealed that 40 percent of people said that they never use sunscreen, even though 58 percent of responders said they are concerned about skin cancer. Only 11 percent use an SPF 15 or higher daily, and 42 percent of people are still getting sunburned at least once a year. A person's risk for melanoma (the most serious form of skin cancer) doubles if he or she has had five or more sunburns.
The findings suggest a lack of understanding that everyday incidental sun exposure can seriously damage the skin over time.
Women still do a better job than men when it comes to using sunscreen. Forty-seven percent of men say they never wear sunscreen, compared to 34 percent of women.
While sunscreen offers protection during the time you must be in the sun, it's wrong to think of it as a tool to increase the amount of time you can spend in the sun, a belief held by 57 percent of women and 53 percent of men. No sunscreen blocks 100 percent of UV rays and most people do not apply it adequately or frequently enough.
There seems to be similar confusion about the protective ability of clothing. Thirty-six percent of people think that clothing provides the same level of protection as sunscreen. A new academic review from Switzerland shows that clothing (hats, sunglasses and clothing made from certain fabrics) may be the more effective method of protection. However, it depends on the type of clothing. An untreated white cotton T-shirt only provides the equivalent of an SPF 5 to 7. Darker more densely woven fabrics provide a much higher SPF.
The Skin Cancer Foundation offers the following tips to reduce the risk of sunburn, skin damage and skin cancer:
» Seek the shade, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
» Do not burn.
» Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths.
» Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day.
» Apply 1 ounce of sunscreen to all exposed areas, 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
» Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
» Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies 6 months and older.
» Examine your skin from head-to-toe every month.
» See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.
For more sun safety information, visit www.health.ivillage.com or www.skincancer.org.