Sun Exposure Especially Dangerous During Tropical Vacations

Sun Bingeing – The Hidden Danger of Winter Getaways

New York, NY (February 17, 2012) – Planning an escape to sunny shores? Travelers should be advised that ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun plays a significant role in the development of skin cancer, and the concentrated sun exposure received during a tropical vacation is especially dangerous.

While cumulative sun damage increases your lifetime risk of skin cancer, intense, intermittent exposure is the pattern shown to result in melanoma (the most serious form of skin cancer); it also is believed to play a part in basal cell carcinoma (BCC), the most common form of skin cancer.  This kind of periodic, concentrated UV exposure frequently causes sunburn and severely damages the skin.

“In situations involving intense UV exposure, even those who are dedicated to protecting their skin from the sun need to be extra cautious,” said Perry Robins, MD, President, The Skin Cancer Foundation. “Prolonged sun exposure is always dangerous, but this type of extreme exposure after spending many months indoors is particularly hazardous.”

Research shows that intense, intermittent sun exposure plays an important role in the development of melanoma. Having numerous moles is a risk factor for melanoma, and according to a study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, white English women who vacation in hot countries have 74 percent more moles than those who have never vacationed in tropical climates. The researchers determined that the association was greater in women who took these holidays between the ages of 18 and 29, and that their moles were more likely to appear on the trunk and lower limbs — areas typically covered up in everyday life and thus more vulnerable to sunburn and other sun damage from the intense exposure often sustained during hot-weather vacations.

If you're fleeing the cold, The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends protecting yourself with these warm weather vacation tips:

Cover up! Wearing more clothes may seem counter-intuitive at the beach or pool, but sarongs, long sleeves, and wraps will shade your skin and help keep you cool.

Accessorize: Sunglasses that block the sun's UV radiation will help protect your eyes from conditions ranging from cataracts to macular degeneration, while a broad-brimmed hat (with at least a 3" brim all around) will help protect the top of your head, neck, face, ears, and scalp.

Beware of Reflection:  Surfaces such as water and sand reflect the sun's UV radiation back at you, adding to the intensity of exposure. Seek the shade with a large sun umbrella, and hit the hot spots early in the morning or late in the afternoon - you'll beat the crowds and save your skin!

Be Sunscreen Smart: A broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 is a must. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Apply one ounce, or two tablespoons, every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating heavily.

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About The Skin Cancer Foundation

The Skin Cancer Foundation is the only global organization solely devoted to the prevention, early 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 www.SkinCancer.org