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Why dermatologists say sunscreen is now more important than ever

(WCAX)
Published: May. 22, 2020 at 3:15 PM EDT
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Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start to summer. Many people are ready to go to beaches and parks, even if that means social distancing in the sun.

After months of being cooped up because of the pandemic, dermatologist Elizabeth Hale from the Skin Cancer Foundation says slathering on the sunscreen is even more important now.

"Please protect your skin because if you go out without protection, your skin might be at risk for more damage and more sunburn because you've been inside hibernating for so long," she said.

Hale says to look for a sunscreen that is labeled SPF 30 or higher, and broad spectrum to block against ultraviolet A and B rays.

We know sunscreen is necessary during the summer, but dermatologists aren’t just recommending it for when you’re outside. While spending more time inside than usual for work and school, you might want to consider sunscreen indoors.

"The ultraviolet A rays are longer wavelengths and they penetrate through windows, through glass, and they contribute to skin cancer and also to aging of the skin," Hale said. "Furthermore, there's new interest in HEV and blue light, which are the rays that are emitted from our devices, and we’re spending all day on Zoom and on our screens. And there's definitely new data that those rays can also contribute to aging of the skin and possibly the development of skin cancer."

Hale says skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S. and is almost always curable when caught early. If you see any suspicious moles or changes in your skin, get in touch with your dermatologist.

Outside is where you are going to get the most skin damage, so be sure to reapply sunscreen at least every two hours. Also, wear hats and seek shade when you can.