Study: Practice sun safety, sunscreen is not enough to protect you from damage

sunscreen

INDIANAPOLIS — The UV Index hit a 10 in Indianapolis on Tuesday, with 11 being the most extreme. With those index numbers. it takes just 15 minutes to get a sun burn.

St. Vincent Health says approximately 76,100 new cases of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, will be diagnosed this year and a new study shows sunscreen alone is not enough to protect from the deadly disease.

“We recommend a multi-faceted approach to sun safety,” said St. Vincent Health Dermatologist Doctor Beth Brogan. “The first is sunblock of course. I like a high SPF broad spectrum sunblock. And I think when you’re looking at SPF, the higher the better because the sunblock breaks down as you go outdoors and when you’re in the sun, so you might as well start with a high SPF.”

You should use an ounce of sunblock for the whole body.

Dr. Brogan says lotions tend to go on better and you have less chance of missing a spot than with a spray. She recommends chemical-free sunblock for kids.

You should put it on every morning and reapply at least every two hours if outdoors.

“Before we leave I put sunscreen on both of us and then about every hour I’ll reapply it,” said Broad Ripple mom Kathryn Withrow. “We do not leave the house unless he has sunscreen on.”

Her 2-year-old son Royce is fair-skinned just like his mom, but it’s not easy keeping him confined to the shade.

“He has a different hat to go with whatever he’s wearing because I won’t let him out of the house without a hat. He always loves to be outside, but I try to limit it to maybe a couple of hours at a time so actually in a little bit we’ll go home and take a nap before he can come back out again.”

This mom is on it, says Dr. Brogan.

Since sunblock isn’t enough, the hat like Royce wears, sunglasses and sun-protective clothing are a must.

“A regular white t-shirt might only give you an SPF of 5, so you really want to go for a tighter weave, maybe a darker color, but some of the new shirts and new technology with SPF are really cool,” said Dr. Brogan.

Avoid being outside from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. if possible.

And if you have kids, be a good example.

“I never wore sunscreen as a kid like my parents told me to so I have to go to the dermatologist every six months to get checked,” said Withrow. “I’m at very high risk for skin cancer and I don’t want that to happen to my little guy.”

Be sure to check the expiration date on your sunblock. If there is no expiration date, it has a shelf life of three years, but can be shorter if exposed to really high temperatures.

If you get burnt, Dr. Brogan says, “You should get in a cool place, get in the shade, use cool compresses and the other thing that can be helpful are over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen.”

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