Staying Sun Safe: Confessions of a Former Tanner

Sandra A. Fryhofer, MD


May 03, 2011

In This Article
Sandra A. Fryhofer, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia; Past President, American College of Physicians, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


This issue of Staying Well addresses an important public health message for adults and children: protecting your skin from ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has just released a new policy report on the topic,[1] and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is contemplating tighter mandates for teens and tanning beds.[2]

My Personal Disclaimer

As a teen, I did not practice what I now preach. I loved getting a tan. Coming back from spring break with a tan was a rite of passage. During my high school senior year spring break trip, I took tanning to an extreme. Armed with baby oil and iodine, I spent 3 hours in the Florida sun. My poor judgment made a lasting impression with visible effects: a nasty sunburn with pain, then peeling, and then the appearance of my first-ever freckles. Years later as a medical resident, I spent a month-long rotation on the oncology wards with an attending specializing in metastatic melanoma treatment. I was struck by the young age of these patients and their terrible prognosis. These early experiences shaped my current obsession with skin protection. I am proud to say I have become a "sunscreen junkie."


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