Many people break out the sunscreen when the weather gets warmer, but if that's the only time you're protecting your skin, doctors say you're making a big mistake.
ECU student Emily Carrouth says after her dad had a bout with skin cancer, she's learned just how important sunscreen is and wears it mostly when she's at the beach or around water, but she doesn't think many of her fellow students think about it. Carrouth says, "I don't think they worry about it right now. They say I'll worry about it when I get older, or it won't happen to me."
Dr. Charles Phillips, a dermatologist with the ECU Brody School of Medicine, says you need to think about it at every age and in the past few years he's noticed more young people coming in with skin cancer. He also says you should wear sunscreen every day with a minimum SPF of 15 and then reapply every two hours. Wear longer clothing or hats if possible, especially if you are going to be outside for an extended period of time. Also try not to be outside from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. if possible, that's when the sun's rays are the most damaging.
Dr. Phillips says a lot of people remember the sunscreen when they go to the pool or beach, but it's other times they forget. "It's the incidental sun exposure, the early baseball games, then they're burned by the end of the game."
New sunscreen regulations take effect in June, which mean manufacturers can not claim sunscreens are "waterproof" or "sweatproof, or identify their products as "sunblocks," because those claims overstate their effectiveness, according to the F.D.A. And the highest SPF that can be used on labels is 50-plus.