Sunscreen Demystified in Beckley - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Sunscreen Demystified in Beckley

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Slathering on sunscreen and heading to the pool is a time honored summer tradition. But with so many products on the shelves these days, it's easy to get overwhelmed and often times burned by the sometimes misleading information on the label.

According to Dr. Frank Poland of Beckley Dermatology, sunlight is composed of two types of ultraviolet light: UVB rays, which cause sunburns, and UVA rays which tan. The important thing to understand, he said, is the FDA only requires sunscreens to protect against UVB.

That means skin exposed to the sun without UVA protection is still at risk for sun damage and wrinkles.  

"UVA ages the skin. Skin cancers are caused by UVB, and 15 to 30 percent can turn into squamous cell carcinoma," said Poland.

The best way to protect your family is to make sure the labels list both UVA and UVB or broad spectrum protection, Poland said, and to use a sunscreen with an SPF between 15 and 50.  

Last but not least, he advises patients not to neglect their lips, put on a chap stick with at least a SPF 15.