Sun vs. Skin: What You Need to Know

May 21, 2019 01:04 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- "If you're looking specifically at Minnesota, it's one of the highest skin cancer rates in the country," said Tricia Harte, the outreach manager for Digital Third Coast.

Officials say that Minnesota is the state with the sixth-highest risk of skin cancer.

With the brutally cold winter we just had, it's no wonder Minnesotans are getting outdoors, but soaking up the sun isn't something to take lightly.

"When you go outside without sun protection on, there are ultraviolet light rays of two types: UV-A and UV-B, that your skin is exposed to," said Dr. Dawn Davis, a dermatologist at Mayo Clinic.

Davis said that UV-B is a common skin exposure, the kind that is skin deep.

"UV-B is short wavelength light, and it penetrates to the top levels of the skin, and over time causes inflammation to the skin to give you an acute change of inflammation, better known as a tan or a sunburn," said Davis.

It's the UV-A exposure that can have more serious consequences.

"UV-A radiation is a longer wavelength of light, and it can penetrate from the top layer of the skin to the deeper layers of the skin, but it also causes prolonged sun damage over time," said Davis.

Most people remember sunscreen, especially when they're aware of the amount of time they're going to be spending outside. The issue is, if you're not applying it properly or if you're not applying enough, that causes those skin damaging risks.

"We recommend that people in everyday life wear an SPF of 15 on their skin to the sun-exposed parts, which are usually the face, the neck and the backs of the hands, at minimum. Then when you go outdoors for every day wear, we recommend an SPF of 30 to 50, being mindful that you have to reapply every two hours at a minimum, plus every time you sweat or get wet," said Davis.

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Credits

Jaclyn Harold

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