The ABCs of sunscreen

Studies show that those who regularly used sunscreens were more likely to burn than those who did not.

Health expert, Karen Owoc told KRON 4’s Marty Gonzalez that some of the reasons could be that sunscreen users:
1. May have a false sense of security.
2. Justify staying outdoors loner.
3. Don’t follow label directions properly.

Karen says the most commonly overlooked areas when it comes to applying sunscreen are the most vulnerable to skin cancer:

  • Scalp: Use an oil-free sunscreen (least greasy option for hair) if you’re bald, shave your head, and on your part.
  • Ears: Cancer occurs frequently on the ears.
  • Eyelids: Cancers often develop on the skin around the eyes. Difficult to protect with sunscreen if you don’t want lotion in your eyes. Wear wrap-around sunglasses with UV-blocking lenses.
  • Lips: One of the highest risk areas for squamous cell cancer. When they develop on the lips, there is the highest chance of spreading and 35% chance of recurrence. 
  • Hands: If you wash your hands after applying sunscreen, the backs of your hands end up with zero sun protection. Remember, the backs of your hands and arms are highly exposed when driving.
  • Back of the neck: This is a high-risk zone for basal and squamous cell cancer.
  • Feet: If wearing sandals or have bare feet, your skin can burn easily. Apply sunscreen to tops of the feet.

Karen says many people don’t use enough sunscreen. Here are her guidelines:

  • Face – 1 teaspoon
  •  Body – 1 ounce (a shot glass full) — about 1 tsp. per body part
  •  Apply 15 to 30 minutes BEFORE going outside.
  • Reapply every 2 hours OR immediately after swimming, sweating, or washing your hands.
  • Look for Broad Spectrum (UVA/UVB protection)
  •  UVA rays prematurely age the skin (wrinkling, age spots). UVB rays burn the skin. Both cause cancer.
  •  There is NO such thing as “waterproof” sunscreen or “sunblock”.
  •  SPF 30 blocks 97% UVB rays.
  • SPF 50 blocks 98% UVB rays.
  •  SPF 100 blocks 99% UVB rays.
    Lip balms
  • Must be SPF 30 or higher and reapply every 2 hours.

The Takeaway: Wear Sunscreen Even on Cloudy Days

  • UVB rays are more prevalent in the summer and between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm.
    UVA rays are still prevalent regardless of the season or weather however, and can pass through glass, light clouds, can reflect off water, sand, concrete, and snow, and can reach below the water’s surface.
  •  So even though you MAY NOT BURN, you are being exposed to the UVA rays that are less intense but cause aging skin and skin cancer.

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