COLLEGE STATION, Texas — This summer has been a hot one, and in Texas, sunscreen should be your best friend, but some folks may not know just how close that friendship should be.
Dr. Kathryn Greiner, from Baylor Scott and White hears a lot of misconceptions about sunscreen and how it should be used.
“If you’re going to be out 15 minutes, 20 minutes, especially 30 minutes at a time, you should. You should wear sunblock,” she said.
“So most people think just ‘one and done’ right? So some people think, I’m going to be at the water park all day... let’s put sunblock at 7 a.m., and we’re good for the day. No chance. You need to reapply every two to three hours.”
While most people know sun protection is important for beach or pool days, a lot of folks don’t know to protect yourself, even while driving.
"If you do a lot of time driving, you should probably put some SPF on your arms. That left arm tends to get some sun damage from the sun coming in,” said Dr. Greiner.
“So I’ll have a lot of my patients that will go to the tanning bed... because they think ‘oh well, if I get a little base tan, then I’m less likely to burn.’ no, that’s still really bad for you, and in fact, tanning beds only have the bad rays that can damage your skin.”
Even people who aren’t in the sun much at all should stay wary.
Dr. Greiner advised, “Even if it’s a cloudy day, you still need sunblock, because you can still burn if it’s a cloudy day... just for daily use, a lot of facial moisturizers come with an SPF 15. And so, just check your moisturizer bottle and see if it has SPF in there, because a lot of them do.”
A simple thing like sunscreen can save your life.
“there’s three different kinds of skin cancer, basil cell, qualmish cell and melanoma, and all three of those can be from sun damage... each sunburn that you get, especially a blistering or peeling sunburn hugely increases your risk of skin cancer.”
So just wear your sunscreen, sun glasses and hats but don’t worry too much. The sun is not all bad.
“Vitamin D is huge. It can boost your mood. Just being out in the sun for 15 to 20 minutes," she said.
Dr. Greiner says SPF 45 is enough for most sunscreen use, and sprays and lotions work the exact same -- just use whatever’s easiest for you.