COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — As the temperatures warm up in Central Ohio, many will be spending time outside, but there are risks when it comes to not protecting your skin from the sun.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. That’s why medical experts are urging people to take precautions when it comes to skin safety in the sun. Dr. Susan Massick, a dermatologist with OSU Wexner Medical Center, said everyone should be careful being out in the sun, but said that some people are more prone to getting a sunburn than others.
“There’s some patients that have fair skin, a light complexion, light hair,” said Dr. Massick. “So those people are going to be a little more susceptible to sun damage and the damaging ultraviolet rays.”
Dr. Massick said you also have to be cautious when it comes to the amount of sun and how long you are exposed to it as well. Those who work or spend a lot of time outdoors have to watch for the amount of time they are exposed. Dr. Massick noted that all sun exposure and ultraviolet damage can be cumulative.
Some of the best ways you can protect your skin from the sun include how much sun you are going to be getting and how to protect yourself from the actual sun exposure itself.
“We really encourage people to be aware of the high times for sun, so we want to avoid being outdoors between 10 a.m. to 2 or 3 p.m.,” said Massick. “We also want to protect our skin as best as possible, so that includes things like protective clothing, hats, sunglasses.”
One of the most protective options to protect your skin is using sunscreen and checking which SPF is right for you. SPF is an actual calculated number that also correlates to how much exposure you can get in the sun before you start to get burned.
“If you are using SPF, try to use the higher numbers if you are going to be outdoors for an extended period of time,” said Massick. “Day to day, anywhere between SPF of 25 to 30 is fine, but if you know you are going to be outdoors, you want to try to shoot for an SPF of 50+.”
Once you are above SPF 50, Massick said the SPF numbers are fairly equivalent. Massick also said to make sure to use an SPF that is UVA and UVB protection, but to consider broad spectrum and water resistant.
It is also important to make sure you are reapplying your sunscreen as well. It is advised to reapply sunscreen every two to three hours, especially if you are outdoors or swimming.
Dr. Massick said it’s also important to buy a new sunscreen every year and check the expiration dates. Most sunblock’s will expire after a year depending on the potency of their ingredients and how protective it is going to be.
Some other tips to help protect yourself from the sun include:
- Finding shade outdoors
- Wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from the UV rays
- Hats can also protect your face and give you shade when outdoors
For more on skin damage and safety precautions you can take, click here.