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Health Team

Dermatologists warn about sun damage on 'Don't Fry Day'

Posted May 27, 2011 5:30 p.m. EDT
Updated May 30, 2011 6:37 p.m. EDT

The Environmental Protection Agency has dubbed May 27 "Don't Fry Day" to remind everyone about the dangers of too much sun.

New York dermatologist Dr. Ellen Marmur knows first-hand how dangerous the sun can be.

“I had my second skin cancer scare recently, which is why I have a nice scar on my face,” she said.

With one American dying every hour from skin cancer, Marmur tries to educate her patients at Mount Sinai Medical Center about the dangers of too much sun.

She said her cancers started off as something that looked like a small, hard, pink pimple. She blames not wearing sunscreen as a teenager.

“I'm happy to show my patients my scars. You know, it's the best thing I can do,” Marmur said.

Overexposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer, so wearing sunscreen is key, but which ones to choose can be confusing.

“(Sunscreens with SPF) less than 30 and over 50 are kind of useless,” Marmur said.

Dermatologists say bargain brands work just as well as name brands and that sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, especially if sweating or swimming.

It’s also important to remember that sunscreen expires. If it is three years old or more or is yellow and watery, it's probably not good anymore.

It’s best to avoid being out in the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when the sun is the most intense. For more sun safety tips, check out the American Academy of Dermatology's website.