Umbrellas, windshield wipewipers, and sump pumps are the main players these days in Colorado. But you know one of these days the sun is going to return from vacation — and sunscreen is going to need to go back onto your radar.

And on your radar it surely needs to be. Skin cancer, sunburn, and wrinkles are menu items, especially here in mile-high territory.

Yet new research shows we might as well be talking about moonbeams instead of sunshine when it comes to using sunscreen. The numbers are ugly.

A study from the American Academy of Dermatology shows only 30% of women use sunscreen, and for men, it’s a ridiculously low 14%. And most of what is applied goes to the face only.

So let’s make this a reminder moment rather than a “what are you thinking” moment.

Use an SPF of at least 30. You can go to 50 if you wish, but anything above that is overkill.

Always use a broad spectrum product — meaning it will help against UVA and UVB rays.

Don’t be cheap — at least an ounce of sunscreen at a time, that’s a good handful. Use less and you lose protection.

Look at that watch. Apply fresh at least every two hours — and if you’re sweating a ton or taking a swim, smear it on more frequently than that.

Get it on your body at least 15 minutes before heading out. Remember sunscreen isn’t a concrete barrier to sun, it’s a product that gets absorbed and uses a chemical reaction for protection. That reaction takes at least 15 minutes.

Finally, sunscreen application can be a two person project. You usually need help with those hard to reach areas on the back.

Have faith. The sun will come out. Tomorrow (or the next day, or next …)

Bet your bottom dollar … and have the sunscreen on hand (and rest of your body)

For more info:

Dr. Dave Hnida is CBS4’s Medical Editor. He blogs about the latest studies and trends in the health world. Read his latest blog entries, check out his bio or follow him on Twitter @drdavehnida


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