COLORADO SPRINGS – Summer has arrived and that means plenty of sunshine, and in Colorado it’s especially important to protect yourself given our high elevation.
“If [my son and I] are going to be out for any amount of time, put on the sunscreen,” said Eric Powell.
He’s teaching his eight-year-old son Isaiah about the importance of sun protection.
“There’s been times where he’s asked us!” he proudly pointed out.
“He said, ‘Hey, don’t forget about the sunscreen!’ ‘All right, we got it!'”
He says always buy above 30 SPF.
“As long as it’s got the SPF, that’s usually what I focus on,” he explained.
And dermatologists agree 30 SPF should be the minimum.
But if you’re still getting a sunburn, “Go higher,” said Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Jonathan Bielfield.
“If you’re getting the redness, we’re not getting the effect we want from the sunscreen.”
Dermatologists also recommend you look for zinc and titanium on the ingredient list.
These work to create a physical barrier.
“It literally, physically blocks the sunscreen the UV rays and it reflects right off,” Bielfield noted.
There are two types of sunscreen: physical and chemical.
While physical ones create a physical barrier, chemical ones convert UV rays to heat so they’re not harmful.
In general, dermatologists recommend physical sunscreens. But they note each person is different depending on skin, age, and other factors.
But if you want to skip the full-body sunscreen lather, you can wear sun protective clothing.
“I myself, I use my hat,” Powell said.
“The thing that’s nice about clothing […] is that’s less work you have to do.”
“There’s also sun protective shirts, which are really my favorite They’re very comfortable and keep you cool,” Bielfield explained.
“And then they have the equivalent of pants that actually almost make it look like golf pants or khaki pants.”
Since kids are especially vulnerable to the sun, Powell has a word of advice for other parents..
“Spray it on, rub it in, whatever you need to do. They can wait ten seconds.”
Kids who get a sunburn up to age 30 are at a higher risk for skin cancer later on.
Dermatologists say you can limit your sun exposure by planning around the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when UV rays are strongest, and seek shade when you can.