Safe Skin This Summer

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Whether summer to you means Centennial Beach, the park, or Downtown Naperville, chances are you’re spending a lot more time outside.

And it’s important to remember to protect your skin under the scorching sun.

Sunscreen is a popular option, but there are a lot of misconceptions about the right things to look for when picking out a bottle.

“The SPF on the bottle is not exactly what people think it is,” said Dr. Anthony Peterson, a dermatologist for DuPage Medical Group. “The more important aspect of the sunscreen is whether it has broad spectrum coverage, meaning if it blocks the UVA rays as well as the UVB rays.”

However, SPF isn’t meaningless. Dr. Peterson recommends your sunscreen be at least SPF 30, though he uses 70+ with his own family.

That combined with hats and rash guards will give good protection to children, but don’t be afraid of over-application.

“Typically the average person puts about a third of what they’re supposed to put on,” said Dr. Peterson. “So for ease of trying to figure out how much to use, about a shot glass sized amount of sunscreen for the entire body – which is quite a bit.”

Dr. Peterson said the importance of protecting yourself can’t be understated. Exposure to UV rays is the leading cause of skin cancer, and even a tan is a sign of damage.

There is no such thing as a safe tan,” said Dr. Peterson. “When you go out in the sun, in order to make the tan in your skin, you have to have DNA damage occurring. And when that DNA damage occurs, your body starts to create pigment to protect the cell nucleus. And if you already have a tan, you’ve done DNA damage.”

But for those who insist on looking a little less pale, Dr. Peterson has a suggestion.

“Airbrushing. Best thing to do.”

Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.