Healthy Living
Sunning Safely

Released: 6/30/2015

WESTMED Sunning Safely 1 Protect yourself and your family from the risk of skin cancer, while still having the beach time that you daydreamed about last winter.  Just follow some key steps to prevent excess sun exposure that can lead to sunburn, eye damage, wrinkles, and life-threatening melanoma. Safeguard your children, too.  Research indicates that one serious childhood sunburn could trigger skin cancer in later years.


If you’re headed for the shore, the lake, or the backyard pool, apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF from 30to 50 to all exposed skin. A product with SPF 30 screens out 97 percent of UVB rays, which are the short solar rays that can cause burning. Don’t fall for sky-high SPF numbers. Recent research has shown that sunscreens with SPFs beyond 50 do not proportionately increase the level of protection.


“It’s more important to get a sunscreen with zinc and/or titanium as active ingredients,” explains Dr. Saryna Young, WESTMED dermatologist. “Then you have a good sunscreen, no matter what the SPF rating,”


Also, the idea now is to wear enough sunscreen to get the most protection.  The latest rule of thumb is to apply a teaspoon per body part or area. Don’t forget your ears. (Basal cell skin cancers can start there.) And reapply at least every two hours and especially after swimming, perspiring or toweling off.   


Other points to remember:



  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat and UV protective sunglasses to protect the face and eyes.  
  • Wear sunscreen even on a cloudy day.   
  • Be aware that concrete, sand and water reflect 85 to 90 percent of the sun’s damaging rays, making you vulnerable to sunburn.
  • Try to get your outside activities completed in the early morning or late afternoon as the sun is the strongest at the middle of the day.