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Public Health Action Steps from the International Agency for Research
Protection of the skin from solar damage ideally involves various actions that include wearing tightly woven
protective clothing that adequately covers the arms, trunk, and legs and a hat that provides adequate shade to the whole of the
head; seeking shade whenever possible; avoiding outdoor activities during periods of peak insolation; and using
sunscreens. Sunscreens should not be used as the sole agent for protection against the sun.
Sunscreens should not be used as a means of extending the duration of solar exposure (e.g., prolonging sunbathing)
and it should not be used as a substitute for clothing on sites that are usually unexposed (e.g., the trunk and buttocks).
Daily use of sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (>15) on exposed skin is recommended for residents of areas
of high insolation who work outdoors or enjoy regular outdoor recreation. Daily use of a sunscreen can reduce the
cumulative solar exposure that causes actinic keratoses and squamous cell carcinoma.
Adequate solar protection is more important during childhood than any other time in life, and parents and
school managers should assiduously apply the first two recommendations.
Source: The International Agency for Research on Cancer Working Group on the Evaluation of Cancer-Preventive
Agents. Sunscreens. In: IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention. Vol 5. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on
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