Rite Aid, skin cancer group launch sun safety campaign

August 15, 2011

Rite Aid Corporation and the Skin Cancer Foundation have launched a new healthy skin-care campaign offering free information online and in all Rite Aid stores to consumers, and increased professional information to the chain's pharmacists.

"Our pharmacists regularly get questions about skin care and sun safety," said Sarah Matunis, Rite Aid pharmacist and corporate clinical coordinator. "We're giving them additional resources to help deal with those questions as well as more resources for our patients. We want to help our patients enjoy the summer."

Enjoying the summer includes not adding to the risk of sun damage, which runs the gamut from premature wrinkles and aging of the skin to potentially fatal skin cancers. About 65% of melanomas and 95% of nonmelanoma skin cancers can be traced to ultraviolet light exposure from the sun, Matunis said.

One thing that won't change is the amount of sunscreen needed. It takes about 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) to completely cover the skin, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Reapplying every 2 hours means an 8-ounce container protects during 16 hours of sun exposure.

Summer protection tips include: Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher; use an SPF 30 or higher sunscreen for extended outdoor activity; reapply sunscreen every 2 hours or immediately after swimming or heavy sweating; avoid midday sun; stay in the shade when possible; cover up with clothing, a broad-brimmed hat, and UV-blocking sunglasses; avoid tanning and UV tanning booths; never get a sunburn; keep infants out of the sun; check your skin for visible changes every month; and get a dermatologic medical exam annually.

Many medications increase sensitivity to UV radiation, a side effect that patients may not be aware of. Good counseling can help boost awareness of medication-related UV sensitivity and help patients avoid unexpected sun damage.

"Prevention is key to avoiding sun damage to your skin," Matunis said.