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December 1995

How High the SPF?

Author Affiliations

Chapel Hill Dermatology PA 891 Willow Dr Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Arch Dermatol. 1995;131(12):1463-1464. doi:10.1001/archderm.1995.01690240129026

The Archives is to be congratulated for the April 1995 issue devoted in part to health promotion. Sun protection is the most important preventive health strategy that dermatologists employ with their patients and can recommend to the public at large. Taking the lead from Australia, many of us are recommending sun avoidance and natural sun protection (ie, clothing, shade) as the most desirable strategy. Out-of-door occupations and recreational lifestyles still demand, however, that full-protection sunscreen products be readily available.

In the article titled ''Summer in Australia: Skin Cancer and the Great SPF Debate,'' Marks1 argues for (sun protective factor (SPF) 15 products being adequate to prevent skin cancer and that the whole SPF numbering system is misleading to the public. While a simpler classification system may be desirable and there are theoretical arguments supporting SPF 15 as maximal protection, I still feel compelled to recommend higher SPF products for

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