National Don’t Fry Day is celebrated on the Friday before Memorial Day (last Monday of May), which falls on May 24 this year. And yes, the pun is intended. It has been designated by the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention as a reminder for everyone to protect their skin as they usher in the summer and prepare to enjoy the great outdoors. It is also to raise awareness about sun- safety methods and all the harmful effects that overexposure can have. According to the organization, the motto for National Don’t Fry Day is ‘Slip, slop, slap and wrap’ — slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen with the appropriate SPF (30 +), slap on a wide-brimmed hat, and wrap some cool shades on those eyes!
History of National Don’t Fry Day
National Don’t Fry Day falls on the Friday before Memorial Day because the long weekend is usually a time when people like to celebrate the outdoors by taking trips to the beach or enjoying other outdoor activities in the sun. It was first founded in 2008 by the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, along with partner organizations, to raise awareness about the risks of UV-ray exposure in correlation with high incidences of skin cancer. Its purpose is to educate the public about practicing sun-safe methods while still being able to enjoy the summer sunshine and to help reduce the rate of skin cancer.
Apparently, some statistics say that every hour, someone in America dies of skin cancer, therefore we cannot afford to take it lightly. There are several types of skin cancer, with melanoma being the deadliest, and basal cell carcinoma being the most common. The good news is that early detection of skin cancer can help cure it, so following protective measures and keeping an eye on your skin is more than enough to keep the risk at bay.
There are those who may be worried that having to take these precautions may turn them into vampires, but they need not fear. Something as simple as checking the UV index before going outdoors and avoiding the sun at midday (when it’s at its peak), are steps that do not hamper most activities. It’s also important to allow your body to naturally produce vitamin D by soaking up pure sunshine for about 10–15 minutes a day. When it comes to sunscreens, the best way to go is organic — but do not rely only on sunscreen to protect you. It needs to be thickly reapplied, every two hours, and don’t forget to also invest in some SPF chapstick to protect your lips.
National Don’t Fry Day timeline
German chemist Johann Wilhelm Ritter discovers ultraviolet light and its part in sunburn.
Melanoma is discovered by the inventor of the stethoscope, French physician René-Théophile-Hyacinthe Laënnec.
Dr. Isaac Parish documents the first case of melanoma in North America, in a 43-year-old widow in Philadelphia.
French pharmacist Eugène Schueller, founder of L'Oréal, releases the first commercial sunscreen.
National Don’t Fry Day FAQs
What does SPF stand for?
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and it measures how much ultraviolet radiation can penetrate your skin. The main focus of many sunscreens is on blocking UVB rays, but UVA rays are also harmful, therefore, when choosing a sunscreen, it’s best to go with a broad-spectrum one, with an SPF of 30 or higher.
What does melanoma look like?
According to the National Cancer Institute, cancerous moles have the following characteristics: “Border that is irregular: The edges are often ragged, notched, or blurred in outline. The pigment may spread into the surrounding skin. Color that is uneven: Shades of black, brown, and tan may be present. Areas of white, gray, red, pink, or blue may also be seen.”
Does shade protect from the sun?
Yes, shade can help protect you from the sun’s harmful UV rays, which cause skin damage and can lead to skin cancer.
How to Observe National Don’t Fry Day
Get creative and spread awareness
Why not create your own fun version of ‘Slip, slop, slap and wrap’ on Tik Tok or Instagram to remind people about sun safety measures, as well as to spread awareness about the risks of UV ray exposure. Follow important pages or accounts on skin cancer prevention and help get the message out. Technology can really be our friend sometimes.
Support parks and rec organizations
Become a member of the National Council on Skin Cancer Awareness and recognize National Don’t Fry Day by purchasing an automatic sunscreen dispenser to help parks and outdoor recreational centers dispense free sunscreen to their visitors. Help the movement grow.
Grow some aloe vera
We cannot praise this humble succulent enough, which has innumerable benefits for the skin and the body in general. Not only is it easy to grow indoors and out, but it’s also a natural air purifier and is great for soothing skin that may be a little too sun-kissed. Don’t just take our word for it, try it yourself!
5 Simple Steps To Keep You Sun Wise And Protected
Many tanning beds and sunbeds use harmful UV rays, and the damage outweighs the aesthetic appeal.
Be generous with sunscreen
There’s a reason the word slather is frequently used with sunscreen — apply it even on cloudy days.
Don’t throw shade, but do seek it, especially between 10 A.M. to 4 P.M.
Get Vitamin D safely
Vitamin D can be gained through alternate means, like supplements and foods that are rich in it.
Protect your body
Protective clothing and accessories can also be very chic, and less is NOT more in this case.
Why National Don’t Fry Day Is Important
It builds awareness about skin cancer
Despite the rather light-hearted name given to this day, it addresses a serious topic that is relevant to people of all skin tones and ethnicities. National Don’t Fry Day is an important step in the right direction towards educating people about the very real risk of skin cancer, and it can help with prevention too.
It encourages preventative action
Through the efforts of organizations like the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention to spread awareness and tips for staying sun-safe, people can take control and lower the risk of cancer in their own lives and the lives of their loved ones.
It holds product companies accountable
Through its reach on social media platforms and other avenues, National Don’t Fry Day can help hold cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies accountable for the sun-protection products they sell, thereby having a beneficial impact on these industries as well.
National Don’t Fry Day dates