Doctors offer tips for protecting yourself from the sun

According to Dr. Paul Dale, getting just three sunburns in your lifetime significantly raises your risk of getting skin cancer.
Summer

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — Summer might not start for a few more weeks, but it already feels like summer here in Middle Georgia.

As the Beatles song says, “Here Comes the Sun!”

Dr. Paul Dale, the Medical Director for the Peyton Anderson Cancer Center, says you need to think of protecting yourself from the sun before you walk out the door.

“Most people, by the time they get outside, they haven’t put on the sun tan lotion,” he said. “They set everything up and they put it on, so they’ve been out there for 30 minutes, so think before you go outside. Put on at least a 30 SPF.”

Dr. David Kent, a dermatologist at Skincare Physicians of Georgia, says just putting on sunscreen once isn’t enough. You should be reapplying every two hours at least.

“Unless you’re getting in and out of the water, then the recommendation is every hour,” Dr. Kent said. “The amount of sunscreen you should put on to cover your whole body is one ounce, so that’s literally what it takes to fill a shot glass.”

Many people were taking advantage of the beautiful weather at Sandy Beach Park for Memorial Day, including Andrea Ashley and her family.

“We came down here with the family to enjoy the sun, some food, catch some waves maybe, and probably get on the jet ski,” she said.

Her family picked out a spot under the pavilion so they could take breaks from the sun.

“Well we brought food, and we wanted to enjoy the sun but not be too hot,” she said.

Dr. Kent says a sunburn is actually an injury that manifests in inflammation of the skin. If someone feels sick after getting a sunburn, there are ways to treat it, but he says most importantly, don’t go out in the sun again until it’s healed.

“You can actually take a nonsteroidal like Motrin or Advil, and that can be good,” he said. “And of course cool compresses and low strength topical steroids, aloe.”

Dr. Dale says people with fair skin aren’t the only ones who can get sunburn and that it’s a myth that people with darker skin can’t experience a sunburn.

“Even people with darker skin should be considerate of the sun and putting on sunscreen,” he said. “Just because you have dark skin doesn’t mean you can’t get burnt.”

According to Dr. Dale, getting just three sunburns in your lifetime significantly raises your risk of getting skin cancer, so be sure to apply sunscreen as much as possible this summer and throughout the year.

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