Need for sunscreen and sunburn awareness rises as summer approaches

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The temperatures are rising and the sunshine is bringing people outside across the metro. That means more exposure to the sun and those dangerous UV rays.

"I've had some pretty, not terrible burns, but I've definitely been burned," said Chi Tran.

We've all been there, sunburns are all too common, but can do some serious damage to your skin.

"As few as two or three sunburns can double the risk of melanoma over a lifetime," said Dr. Daniel Aries, the Director of Dermatology at the University of Kansas Hospital.

He says a little bit of sun is good for you, it's the all-day exposure that's not.

"Sun is not dangerous," Dr. Aries said. "Sun burns are very dangerous."

"I think reapplying, especially when you're outside having fun with your friends its hard," added Tran, who said she's guilty of getting burnt in the past - but she says now as she`s gotten older, she applies sunscreen every day.

"If you have good sun protection, your skin will just look better it won't wrinkle as much, so that's probably why I do it every day, but in the back of my head it's probably skin cancer as well," Tran said.

With Memorial Day coming up and summer right behind it, Dr. Aries says to use any sunscreen over SPF 30.

"How many times longer you can stay in the sun -- so an SPF of 10 means that if you get a sun burn after six minutes, your SPF of 10 will raise you up to 60 minutes to get that same sunburn," Dr. Aries adds.

He says to reapply every 2 to 3 hours no matter what bottle says:

"Whatever sunscreen you think you're actually going to apply to yourself and apply to the kids -- that's the one to get!"

For more information on sunscreen and how to protect your skin:

Click on this link for sunburn prevention tips

Click on this link for basic information about skin cancer

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2 comments

  • kctruth

    Melanomas can occur on the soles of the feet, the buttocks and other areas where the sun never shines. Excessive sun exposure can cause skin cancers such as basal and squamous cell carcinoma, but the evidence for melanoma caused by sunlight is weak. We need a certain amount of sun exposure to produce adequate levels of Vitamin D. Most sunscreens contain photosensitive chemicals that can become carcinogenic when exposed to sunlight.

    Our species evolved in the sunlight and requires a certain amount for good health. If you’re worried about too much sun, wear long sleeves and a hat.