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Letter: Fight harmful UV rays the vegan way

Dear Editor,

Are you ready for fun in the sun this summer? With National Sunscreen Day (May 27) just around the corner, let’s shout from the rooftops about wearing sunscreen for skin cancer prevention. 

Protecting our skin is more important than ever, as ozone depletion has significantly increased skin cancer cases.

One way to lace up our gloves and fight back against skin cancer is through healthy vegan foods. Animal agriculture produces a greenhouse gas called nitrous oxide. 

This gas harms the ozone layer, which protects us from harmful ultraviolet radiation. And studies have shown that consuming plants can help to reduce the risk of cancer.

As someone with an increased risk of skin cancer, I understand the importance of prevention. 

When my best friend was diagnosed with melanoma in her early 20s, I got my huge, irregular birthmark removed as a precaution. I now have a 4-inch silver scar on my leg. 

Sometimes the puzzled looks and questions about my humongous scar bother me, but then I’m reminded how fragile life is: A kind woman I know recently passed away from melanoma, leaving behind five children. 

It’s terrifying, but the best I can do is be proactive by eating healthy vegan foods and slathering on sunscreen. 

I love so many of the delicious-smelling sunscreen available on the market. To choose a sunscreen that is kind to animals, look for vegan and cruelty-free products. 

Vegan sunscreens should not contain animal-derived ingredients, such as beeswax or lanolin. And cruelty-free sunscreens are not tested on animals. Check for PETA’s leaping bunny, or search on crueltyfree.peta.org to be sure.

On National Sunscreen Day, let’s remember to protect ourselves from skin cancer, reduce our environmental impact with healthy vegan foods, and choose products that align with our values.

 Small steps can make a big difference!

 Rebecca Libauskas

The PETA Foundation