EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Now that the weather is getting nice, many of us are spending more time enjoying the outdoors.
That means it’s time to stock up on sunscreen. But which ones are safe and effective?
With summer right around the corner, many of us will soon hit the pools, beaches, and lakes. But before you venture outdoors, it’s recommended that you apply sunscreen.
Dr. Greg Severs is a local dermatologist. He says spending time in the sun increases your chance of early skin aging and skin cancer. He screens patients for melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer.
“We see skin cancer every day, many times a day, unfortunately. Most of them are more common types of skin cancer like basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma, but we see melanoma on a daily basis as well,” said Dr. Greg Severs, DO/ Lackawanna Valley Dermatology.
That’s why Dr. Servers recommends using broad-spectrum sunscreens that protect against UVA and UVB rays.
“SPF 30 is said to block 97 percent of the sun’s rays. When you get above that you’re talking small percentage points. 30 or higher doesn’t make a big difference,” said Dr. Greg Severs.
The varieties of sunscreens are plentiful. So how do you know which ones are safe and effective?
Dr. Severs says many FDA-approved sunscreens are safe even though they contain chemicals. But there are other options.
If you want to avoid chemicals in sunscreens there are types of sunscreens called physical blockers. Those sunscreens contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide and those are thought not to be absorbed into the skin. Those are the ones we recommend for those with sensitive skin, babies, and young children,” Dr. Severs explained.
Whichever sunscreen you choose, it should be applied to all uncovered skin and reapplied every two hours. But sunscreen alone is not enough, according to Dr. Severs.
Be sure to wear protective clothing, wide-brimmed hats, and find shade to reduce your risk of sunburns. One blistering sunburn doubles your risk of skin cancer.
“I want to resist aging as much as possible, I don’t want skin cancer my dad has had it 3 times I believe he was an avid tanner. It’s important to stay out of the sun if you can, but if you can’t just wear sunscreen,” said Elizabeth Keegan, Moosic
Sunscreens that are not broad-spectrum or lack an SPF of at least 15 must carry a warning “skin cancer/skin aging alert” Although melanoma is on the rise, dr severs says it’s not necessarily a death sentence if detected early… So it’s important to get annual skin screenings by a board-certified dermatologist.
A list of Chemicals in sunscreens absorbed into the skin and into the bloodstream and could be harmful are:
Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Octisalate, Octocrylene, Homosalate and Avobenzen.