Staying Safe In The Summer Sun

By KBJR News 1

July 12, 2011 Updated Jul 12, 2011 at 6:09 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) -Those catching some rays should take caution experts say it doesn't take long to do damage to your skin in the summer sun.

For those living in the northland, summer weather more often than not is in short commodity.

Some people want that bronzed look in our short summer, so when it comes to sun screen, beach go-ers leave it at home.

"I put on tanning lotion; SPF 4. I don't really burn and I haven't been to the beach much this summer," said Camille Doom, a visitor to the Park Point Beach.

Recent UV index numbers have been as high as 9 on a scale of one to 11.

High UV index numbers can mean shorter time to burn for some, but experts strong UV or not, sunscreen is a must.

"We encourage patients that if it is light outside - sunscreen is on. It doesn't matter if it's winter, summer, or fall," said Mary Bressler, a family nurse practitioner in the dermatology department at Essentia Health St Mary's Medical Center.

She says skin cancer continues to be a big concern among health specialists.

"In the Duluth Clinic, melanoma is the number five cancer, so we are competing with brain cancer, breast cancer...so melanoma which is a skin cancer is more prevalent than ever," said Bressler.

As for those hitting the beach on Park Point in Duluth, even when clouds are in the skies, sunscreen is a must for the most part.

"For the kids but for myself typically I really don't and I know I should, but for the kids I do," said Jessica McDonald, who was visiting the Park Point beach with her children.

Experts recommend reapplying sunscreen every two hours when you're in the sun and every 40 minutes if you are in the water.

15 to 30 SPF protection is recommended and the ways sunscreen is now available each have their own benefits.

"The latest things that are out there are the wipes and the4 sprays and I think they are really good it's just that you really have to make sure you read the directions and use them accordingly," said Bressler.

Experts feel it's an issue that should be shown just as much importance as the dangerous of alcohol and the importance of seat belts.

"We need to put the same amount of emphasis on the sun and how its part of skin health and how it really is creating long term problems down the road," said Bressler.

Bressler also says protective eye wear is also a must as melanoma can be found behind the eyes.