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Doctor: Spread Sunscreen on Thick to Prevent Skin Damage

Washingtonians should reapply sunscreen every two hours to avoid sunburns and skin damage. (Marie/Flickr)
Washingtonians should reapply sunscreen every two hours to avoid sunburns and skin damage. (Marie/Flickr)
July 28, 2017

SEATTLE – Washingtonians finally looking to catch some rays need to be careful to avoid damage to their skin.

Dr. Katie Osley, a dermatologist at Kaiser Permanente, says avoiding overexposure from the sun can mean wearing a layer of clothes – she advises something lightweight and cotton – staying in the shade or making sure sunscreen is close at hand.

Osley usually suggests rash guards for children because less of their skin is exposed and they can go in and out of the water.

When it comes to sunscreen, she says not to worry about the brand.

"People shouldn't really get caught up in that so much,” she advises. “I think that the most important thing is that you have 30 SPF or higher or one of the zinc or titanium dioxide based sunscreens, and you need enough of it."

Osley says people having fun in the sun should reapply every two hours and that an average-sized person needs to apply at least a shot glass's amount each application.

She warns people whose skin becomes tan in the sun face the same risk of skin damage from too much exposure.

Osley says it's important for people of any age to avoid sunburns.

"I never like for people to say things like, 'Well, I've already done the damage, why don't I just go out in the sun now?’” she states. “’It's not going to make a difference.'

“That's not true it all. It exponentially gets worse the more you do it. So, even if you're in your 50s, 60s, 70s, still be really careful in the sun and try not to get sunburned."

Too many sunburns can lead to damage and even skin cancer. There are a number of different types of cancer.

Osley says melanoma is the least common, but the most deadly. She says if Washingtonians find a spot on their skin that is growing or changing rapidly, they should go to a doctor and get that spot checked out.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA