Sunscreen Day: Save Your Skin
Dermatologist, Dr. Adam Wray explains that choosing the right sunscreen can lower your cancer risk
It’s the time of year all southeast Idahoans cherish when the snow melts, the flowers bloom and we can finally get out and enjoy the sun. Even though summer is a few months away and you won’t be basking in the sun’s warm glow by the pool or the lake anytime soon, that doesn’t mean skin cancer prevention shouldn’t still be on your mind.
Did you know that one severe sunburn in childhood doubles your chances of getting melanoma, a dangerous type of skin cancer, as an adult? Five or more sunburns at any age double your risk for skin cancer in general, according to Mayo Clinic research.
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using sunscreen with a sun-protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater. This means you have 30 times more protection than you would without the sunscreen. Also, look for “broad-spectrum” on the label this means you will be protected against the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays. Be sure to use an ounce of the stuff equal to a shot glass for your entire body, and consider SPF 30 or 45 for extra protection.
Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before you go out into the sunlight, so your skin can absorb it. Then reapply every two hours, and after exercising or being in the water (even if the sunscreen is waterproof or water-resistant). Avoid peak burning hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and wear a brimmed hat and UV-protective sunglasses.
If you get sunburned, get out of the sunlight and drink fluids to prevent dehydration. Soak in a cool bath to relieve pain, or take acetaminophen to dull a headache, a fever or chills. Lightly moisturize skin if you begin to peel, and don’t go out in the sunshine until you’re healed.
Dr. Adam D. Wray and Julia McGee, PA-C of Bingham Dermatology Center have offices in Blackfoot and Pocatello. They welcome all patients, including those with Medicare and Medicaid. Dr. Wray is certified in Mohs surgery, which allows him to remove skin cancer while doing the least amount of damage to the healthy skin surrounding the cancer. For more information or to schedule an appointment call Bingham Dermatology Center at 233-4455.