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Sunscreen a Must this Summer

Doctors say to slap on the sunscreen, even when the temperatures aren't soaring. (Virginia Carter)
Doctors say to slap on the sunscreen, even when the temperatures aren't soaring. (Virginia Carter)
August 2, 2017

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - As August begins, the long-range forecast in Maryland is for temperatures in the 80s day after day. While school will be starting soon, summer is far from over and that means it's not time to put the sunscreen away.

Dermatologist Katie Osley reminded everyone to still be careful to avoid damage while catching some rays. Her advice for avoiding overexposure from the sun is to wear a layer of lightweight and cotton clothes, stay in the shade or make sure sunscreen is close at hand. When it comes to sunscreen, Osley said not to worry about the brand.

"People shouldn't really get caught up in that so much," she said. "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 said 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 said people whose skin becomes tan in the sun face the same risk of skin damage from too much exposure.

It's important for people of any age to avoid sunburns, Osley said.

"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? It's not going to make a difference.' That's not true at all," she said. "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, and Osley said melanoma is the least common but most deadly. If you find a spot on your skin that is growing or changing rapidly, she said, go to the doctor and get it checked out.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MD