Expert: SPF 30 or more is best protection from the sun

Published: Apr. 12, 2021 at 12:27 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - As warmer weather comes back around and vaccine distribution continues, there will be a lot more people spending time outside. Dermatologists say it is important to wear sunscreen whenever spending an extended amount of time in the sun.

“When it comes to skincare and protecting yourself, it is really about just being very diligent,” Dr. Stephen Vance, a micrographic surgeon with Shenandoah Dermatology, said. He says the following tips can help protect your skin from the sun.

  • Avoid the peak sun hours.

“The middle of the day when the sun is at its highest, you certainly have the most intense sunlight at that point in time. Your UV exposure is going to be at its highest,” Vance explained.

  • Use clothing to protect yourself.

“The wide brim hats that can protect circumferentially all the way around, loose-fitting clothing that can cover arms and legs as much as possible,” Vance added.

  • Sunscreen

SPF that is at a minimum of 30 or greater is the best way to go and if you plan on being outside for a long period of time, reapply. Doctors recommend products with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

“Folks get a lot of sunlight through a lifetime and that’s really what puts you at higher risk for skin cancer. It is not always that one little sunburn you got when you were 22, it’s a lifetime of sun exposure. Every little bit counts,” Vance said.

Sunscreen can make all the difference. Experts say it can take as little as 15 minutes for some people to be sunburned.

“The immediate response is the sunburn and subsequently even sun poisoning that you can get with too much sun exposure,” Dr. Mark Russell with the University of Virginia explained.

Dr. Russell says one in every five people can expect to get some form of skin cancer in their lifetime. He says as long as you catch it earlier, the cancer is treatable 95 percent of the time.

To learn more about skin care and facts about skin cancer, click here.

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