YOUR HEALTH: Sunscreen- don’t get burned by the label
By: Melissa Randall Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @MRandallABC6 PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE)- With the unofficial start to summer right around the corner, now is the time to start thinking about protecting your skin...
By: Melissa Randall
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE)- With the unofficial start to summer right around the corner, now is the time to start thinking about protecting your skin.
“1 in 5 individuals will get skin cancer in their life time and sunscreen is the best tool to protect against it– including the deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma,” said Dr. William Higgins, a dermatologist with Rhode Island Hospital.
Even 10 minutes of unprotected sun time can be damaging. That’s why Dr. Higgins tells his patients take all precautions. His recommendations for sun screen include one with broad spectrum protection (UVA and UVB) and that's water proof. As for the SPF, he says higher doesn’t necessarily mean better coverage.
“Really anything that's SPF 30 and above works. SPF 30 blocks out about 97 percent of the suns rays. Anything above that is helpful, but only with a marginal benefit,” he explained.
Consumers should also do their homework so they don't get burned by labels. A new study by Consumer Reports shows some sunscreens fall short of their SPF promises. Of the 58 products tested, 20 came back at less than half of the labeled SPF number.
Parents of young children also need to consider what type of sun screen they use. Lotions, gels and sticks are safe, depending on the little one’s age, but there are some concerns with the sprays.
“They’re doing studies right now looking at that. They're not sure of the effects. Currently they say the risks outweigh not wearing any, but if you're applying it just make sure you're doing it outdoors. Not in a contained area, and be careful,” said Dr. Higgins.
Which ever you choose, Dr. Higgins says it’s important to apply correctly. That means an ounce of sunscreen to exposed body parts every two hours, or after sweating or being in the water. It’s also a good idea to stay in the shade as much as possible, or to wear a wide brimmed hat.
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