OK, so we are midway through the summer and if you have stepped out of your air conditioned homes, you would know it’s HOT! Have you been wearing your sunscreen? According to Kendra Bergstrum, MD, FAAD at Pacific Medical Center, the rates of skin cancer has risen in the US 5-8% annually since the 1960’s. That’s bad. So it’s good to wear your sunscreen in regular and generous amounts. I know, we have had some interesting weather, it has been raining a lot and it’s been cloudy. Well guess what: according to Angie Unchie Song, MD at Swedish Medical Center, 80% of the sun’s ultra violet rays penetrate through the clouds so we are still vulnerable to risks of over exposure.
There are two types of ultra violet rays that we need to protect against. The first are UVA rays. They can penetrate through window glass, cause premature aging, and compromise your immune system’s ability to detect the appearance and progression of skin cancer. UVB rays are the ones that cause sun burns and there is a direct link between sun burns and skin cancers. So it is important that you use a broad spectrum water proof (or at least water resistant) sun screen.
It can be confusing to decide what SPF to use, so here are some guidelines from the Skin Cancer Foundation (No sunscreen, regardless of strength, should be expected to last more than two hours):
- SPF 15 gives you 93% protection
- SPF 30 gives you 97% protection
- SPF 50 gives you 99% protection
The American Academy of Dermatology ads these guidelines:
- Use enough sunscreen to generously coat all skin that will be not be covered by clothing. Ask yourself, “Will my face, ears, arms, or hands be covered by clothing?” If not, apply sunscreen.
- To be sure you use enough, follow this guideline:
- One ounce, enough to fill a shot glass, is considered the amount needed to cover the exposed areas of the body. Adjust the amount of sunscreen applied depending on your body size.
- Most people only apply 25-50 percent of the recommended amount of sunscreen.3
- Apply the sunscreen to dry skin 15 minutes BEFORE going outdoors.
- Skin cancer also can form on the lips. To protect your lips, apply a lip balm or lipstick that contains sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Re-apply sunscreen approximately every two hours or after swimming or sweating heavily according to the directions on the bottle.
We need to put on sunscreen regularly any where our skin is exposed to the sun even when the sun is blocked by clouds. And we need to keep re-applying it every two hours or after working up a good sweat. So do your mom proud and take care of your skin