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  • Michael Sparks, MD

Top 5 Ways To Stay Safe in the Sun

Updated: Jan 1

The sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause skin cancer, premature skin aging, and eye damage. It's important to take steps to protect yourself from the sun's harmful rays, no matter what your age or skin type.

Here are some tips for sun safety:

  • Wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every day, even on cloudy days. Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours, or more often if you're swimming or sweating.

  • Wear protective clothing, such as a hat, sunglasses, and long-sleeved shirts and pants. Look for clothing with a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) of 30 or higher.

  • Seek shade when possible, especially during the midday hours (10am-4pm) when the sun's rays are strongest.

  • Avoid tanning beds. Tanning beds emit UV radiation, which can cause skin cancer.

  • See your doctor for regular skin checks. Early detection of skin cancer is key to successful treatment.

  • Children are especially vulnerable to the sun's harmful rays. Keep infants under 6 months old out of the sun altogether. For older children, apply sunscreen liberally and reapply often, and make sure they wear protective clothing.

  • People with fair skin are more likely to get sunburned. If you have fair skin, be extra careful to protect yourself from the sun.

One quick note; we hear this question all the time! Is there an additional benefit to using sunscreen with an SPF of 100 or 50 compared to just 30? Yes! But, no, not really! The benefit is not as great as you might think. An SPF of 30 blocks about 97% of UVB rays, while an SPF of 50 blocks about 98%. After that, the difference in protection is very small. So don't overspend on a higher SPF that really won't add a lot of benefit. Remembering to re-apply often is the more important factor!

When was the last time you had a skin check? Do you have a suspicious skin spot? Did you know with SparksMD Family Medicine, you can just text Dr. Sparks you suspicious lesions to get a treatment plan started? Don't worry, if we need to freeze a lesion to destroy it (cryotherapy) that is included in your membership!

SparksMD Family Medicine is Sanford's Direct Primary Care Clinic, helping to restore the patient-physician relationship. We believe in price-transparent, affordable, concierge style primary care. For one low monthly membership, you get your doctor's cell phone number, less waiting, same day visits, and steep discounts on medications, labs, and imaging amongst other awesome benefits! Send Dr. Sparks an email directly for more information! Ready to get started? Enroll online and Dr. Sparks will reach out to schedule your first visit!


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