Lufkin dermatologist gives skin cancer prevention tips for Don’t Fry Day

Going into a holiday weekend, many East Texans will be out at the lake, swimming pool, and generally outside.
Published: May. 26, 2023 at 11:45 AM CDT

LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - Going into a holiday weekend, many East Texans will be out at the lake, swimming pool, and generally outside.

That means many people will be exposed to the sun for long periods of time. Today is National Don’t Fry Day across the country. In 2008 the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention designated the holiday on the Friday before Memorial Day.

Dermatologist Matthew Rowley with Dermatology of East Texas said the goal of the day is to remind and encourage people to use sunscreen as summer is beginning.

“It refreshes people’s memory that although it is enjoyable to be out in the sun and there is a lot of benefits including Vitamin D and all those sorts of things. It is actually pretty dangerous to be there for long periods of time,” Rowley said.

By having a day to remind people to use sunscreen the hope is to help reduce skin cancer rates from over exposure. says that in the U.S., more than 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every day. More than two people die of the disease every hour. More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined. At least one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70.

Rowley said he treats multiple patients a day at his practice who have skin cancer. He said he would label it an epidemic.

“All kinds of cancers, basal cells, squamous cells and of course melanoma,” Rowley said.

Throughout the weekend if you are outside, Rowley said you should reapply your sun screen every two hours, even if it’s cloudy.

He also suggests wearing protective clothing.

“A lot of clothing these days is made with UPF. This includes shirts, pants, hats and those things you don’t have to re-apply as long as you wear them,” Rowley said. also said sunscreen can lose its effectiveness as it ages. If it is expired, it does not protect you.

“Be safe, protect yourself, wear sunscreen and sunglasses, sun protective clothing, everything you need to stay safe,” Rowley said.

Rowley said the number on the bottle is how long you can be out in the sun before you burn.

He said to use anything over SPF 50 and re-apply every two hours, and you should be protected.