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How to properly apply sunscreen to keep your skin safe this summer

Posted: 4:50 AM, Jun 07, 2017
Updated: 2017-06-07 11:49:03Z

If you plan on soaking up the sun this summer, it’s important to know how to apply sunscreen the right way to protect your skin.

Doctors from the University of Kansas said if you have had five sunburns in your life, your chances double for melanoma, which can be deadly.

41 Action News spoke with Dermatologist Dr. Daniel Aires, who is the Director of Dermatology for the University of Kansas Health System.

He said these are things you should be looking for when applying sunscreen:

  • You should be using at least a 30 or 45 SPF
  • Remember to reapply every two hours
  • You should be using about an ounce on your body, or about half an egg
  • Aires said sunscreen with a zinc titanium base works best, however they leave a chalky look after
  • If you use a chemical base sunscreen apply 30 minutes before going out into the sun

Aires recommended avoiding spray-on sunscreens altogether.

"There is a lot of controversy about sprays actually for a couple reasons. One is it's not clear how well they work. A second one is you don’t want to inhale it, especially with small children so you never want to spray it near the face of a child. Instead you can spray it on the body and then rub it in or spray it in your hand and then rub it on,” said Aires.

He also said the SPF is not as important as everyone thinks. What’s most important is reapplying throughout the day.

"No matter what kind of sunscreen it is, it is more important that you use enough and that you reapply it every two hours if you are going to be outside and around water,” said Aires.

The University of Kansas and the Midwest Cancer Alliance have teamed up with pools across the state of Kansas to educate patrons, especially children, on the importance of sunscreen.

It’s a program across 50 pools in Kansas called "Pool Cool," and it's practiced at Parkwood Pool in KCK.

Part of the program includes providing free sunscreen for kids and educating the lifeguards to be role models for applying sunscreen.

"Not always, I mean every once in a while you'll have kids who like, whose parents are adamant and they are like put that on, but then you have the kids that are like oh I don’t need sunscreen, I'm going to be in the water. So it is kind of like you have to kind of remind them the importance of sunscreen, putting it on even if you are in the water,” said Certified Lifeguard for Parkwood Pool Sofia Pena.

Aires recommended no sunscreen for babies six months and younger. In that case you should have your child avoid the sun altogether.