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Sunscreen Explained
Photo by Cooper Henckel

Experts explain sunscreen options for skin safety

Story By Cooper Henckel
Local News Published 06/10/2021 4:28PM
Rhinelander - Over the last two decades, the National Cancer Institute found Wisconsinites' risk of developing skin cancer has roughly doubled!

"It's the 6th leading cause of cancer in our country so that's pretty high" Dr. Robert Aylesworth says. "It's the 10th leading cause of cancer deaths in our country so I think it's very important we try to prevent that."

Choosing the right sunscreen requires knowing your needs, says Pharmacist David Schiek.

"Make sure it's a broad spectrum, does at least UV A and B and has an SPF of at least thirty," Schiek says.

There are also newer designer sunscreens, incorporating other skin care products or outright changing how they protect you from the sun.

"The latest things in sunscreens that have come out in the last few years are the mineral sunscreens," Dr. Aylesworth says. "That bounces the sun rays off instead of absorbing them!"

SPF does measure the blocking power of sunscreen but a high number won't necessarily keep you safer.

"SPF 30 to SPF 50 you're only gaining about 1% of protection," Schiek says. "Again, when you go up to 100, you're only gaining another percent of protection."

Making how you use it more important than which kind you choose. Schiek says to apply at least every two hours, regardless of the type of sunscreen you choose. That's especially important if you're in the water, working out, or otherwise sweating off your sunscreen!

Dr. Alyseworth says you should also keep an eye on the UV index to plan how much and how strong of a sunscreen you'll need.

"The channel 12 weather app and it's very very useful!" says Dr. Aylesworth. "If you go to the extended forecast there's a little check at the end of it. If you just check that little box it'll show you the UV index and that'll tell you the intensity of the ultraviolet light that's supposed to be present today."

But however high-tech your prevention plan might be, the most important thing is to follow through and choose whatever you're going to use: aerosol, traditional white cream, or whatever designer sunscreen you might like.

"It doesn't really matter the quality of the sunscreen if it's something you won't use!" Dr. Aylesworth says.
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