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Everyone needs sunscreen (6-9-99)

All skin types need sunscreen, especially during these hot summer months. Those with a fair complexion are more likely to use skin protection but the darker complexions need protection as well.

"Sunscreens act as a shield against the harmful ultraviolet rays which can cause premature wrinkling and skin cancer," says dermatologist Ronald A. Grimwood, M.D., division chief, dermatology, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. "Regardless of skin color, everyone is susceptible to the damaging effects of the sun."

The varieties of sunscreen lotions are numerous, but Dr. Grimwood suggests choosing one with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. The brand doesn't really matter, according to Dr. Grimwood, as long as it has the sun protection factor and blocks out the ultraviolet rays. Also, be sure to check expiration dates on the containers--sunscreens can lose their effectiveness over a period of time.

Most importantly, Dr. Grimwood suggests spending a limited time in the sun. If you have to be outdoors, wear a big hat and apply sunscreen liberally to all exposed skin. If you take a dip in the water, be sure to re-apply the protection as well.

Contact: Myong Covert