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Published on May 31, 2019

Protect your skin from the sun

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Michelle Peterson, APNP

After a cold winter, it's time to get outside and enjoy spring and summer activities! Protecting our skin should be a priority all year, but now is a good time to make sure we have the necessary items needed to keep our skin safe from the sun's harmful rays.

Apply sunscreen. Once, twice, and again! "When applying sunscreen make sure you to choose a brand with an SPF 30 or above," advises Michelle Peterson, APNP. "In addition, make sure the brand you choose has UVB and UVA protection and contains the following ingredients: ecamsule, avobenzone, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, sulisobenzone, or zinc oxide."

Sunscreen measures SPF by the ounce. About 40 pumps of cream sunscreen fills a 1-ounce container so keep in mind if you are putting on enough for a good protective layer. If you are only using a thin layer of sunscreen, consider using a higher SPF. "Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours or after swimming to ensure that you are getting the right amount of protection," says Peterson.

Cream sunscreens are preferred over sprays, however if you choose to use a spray, remember to spray fairly close to the skin and rub in thoroughly. If not rubbed in it's the easiest way to get a very streaky sunburn.

Sunscreens are designed to remain at the original strength for up to three years.  Sunscreen from the previous year should be okay to use but do check the expiration date. Once it is past this expiration date, discard as the sunscreen may no longer be effective.

Peterson says some additional ways to protect yourself from the sun include:

  • When outdoors, wear a hat. While baseball caps may protect your head and scalp, wide-brimmed hats allow more protection by covering the back of your neck and ears.
  • SPF clothing assists when you are going to be in direct sunlight for the day. Consider buying an SPF protected shirt for your next round of golf or day at the pool for that extra protective layer.
  • Wear sunglasses!  Sunglasses with UV-blocking protects your eyes from harmful rays that can impair your vision. Sunglasses are good to use year-round – not just for warmer months.

For an appointment with Michelle Peterson, APNP or a fellow provider in Boscobel, Fennimore or Muscoda, please call Gundersen Boscobel Area Hospital and Clinics at (608) 375-4144.  www.gundersenhealth.org/boscobel

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