CONNECTICUT (WTNH) — With the first day of summer nearly one week away, doctors are pointing out a common misconception about the sun’s strength in June.
Just because it isn’t sweltering out, many people don’t realize how strong the sun is and don’t protect themselves properly.
“We see people at our practice at UConn having sunburns this time of year more often than we do in July or August,” said Dr. Philip Kerr, Chair of Dermatology, UConn Health.
Doctor Kerr said he sees what sun damage and skin cancer does to people daily.
He said the June sun is the strongest because the days are long and the sun is directly over us.
Fair-skinned people with blue eyes, who freckly easily, are most at risk, but Kerr said they do see some cases in dark skin.
Experts said around the face, the nose, top of ears and the scalp are common places for skin cancer to develop.
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Doctor Kerr said sunscreen is the first line of defense against skin cancer and said it needs to be done properly.
“If a person’s going to be out for more than two hours, then we recommend to reapply, and also we recommend to reapply if someones been in a swimming pool or the ocean for more than five or 10 minutes.”
He recommends a 30 SPF for those going to be out for under two hours and 50 if longer or near water.
“The reason is that water reflects the ultraviolet up towards us,” he explained.
That means getting sun from overhead and below from the water’s reflection.
Kerr said the single best ingredient in sunscreen is zinc oxide. He said it lasts longer and “doesn’t absorb into the bloodstream. We know that the chemical-based sunscreens do absorb into the body and are found in the bloodstream.”
Doctor Kerr said UConn doesn’t have evidence that those chemicals in the bloodstream are dangerous, but they also don’t know if it’s 100% safe.