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What Do You Know About Sunscreen

If you think that cloudy skies preclude the need for sunscreen, you should know that clouds block as little as 20% of ultraviolet (UV) rays. It’s also important to know how sunscreens are categorized. The “sun protection factor” (SPF) is a measure of how long it takes skin to burn with sunscreen compared to without sunscreen. An SPF30 sunscreen multiplies the time it takes skin to burn by 30. So, if your skin burns in ten minutes, an SPF30 sunscreen offers 300 minutes of protection. However, such factors as sunscreen rubbing or washing off may compromise this protection. It is also important to choose a “broad-spectrum” sunscreen that blocks UV-A and UV-B rays, which are both associated with skin cancer.

Another way to reduce the risk of skin cancer is to avoid sun exposure by seeking shade and wearing protective clothing in addition to a good sunscreen. Our physicians will perform a thorough full-body skin screening to establish a solid baseline so that we can monitor any problems that may develop going forward. For more information, please call us today. Your health and well-being are our greatest concern. Visit us on the web at to learn more about the services we offer.

P.S. Older adults should realize that, as we age, “melanin” (the pigment that gives skin its color and acts as a natural sunscreen) is less effective. Many seniors also take medications that increase sun sensitivity.

Dr. Michael Freeman

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