Skin Cancer vs. Sunscreen

ABC7’s The More in the Morning team spoke with Dr. Michael K. Kim, Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon, to discuss skin cancer prevention and the importance of using sunscreen now that the summer is here.

The American Dermatology Association (ADA) recommends one that's labeled “broad-spectrum,” because this means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays are the ones that prematurely age your skin, causing wrinkles and age spots, while UVB rays cause sunburn. Overexposure to both can lead to skin cancer.

SPF is a measure of how much UVB light a sunscreen can filter out. Dermatologists recommend using an SPF of at least 30. SPF 15 blocks about 93 percent of UVB rays, while SPF 30 blocks about 97 percent of UVB rays.

On days you're going to be outdoors for an extended period, say playing golf or at the beach or pool, Dr. Kim suggests putting a base coat of SPF 30 all over the body a half hour before leaving the house and then reapplying every two hours. If you're swimming, it's a good rule of thumb to grab the sunscreen every time you get out of the water.

As for the vehicle your sunscreen comes in (lotion, spray or otherwise), that’s all about your personal preference. The best sunscreen is ultimately the one that you ACTUALLY use. Of course, a sunscreen is only effective if you use it right.

Apply an ounce of sunscreen to the entirety of your exposed skin. (This is about the volume of a shot glass or the size of a golf ball. Reserve about a nickel-sized dollop for your entire face, and remember to reapply every two hours or immediately after heavy sweating or swimming.

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