‘No one is immune to skin cancer’: Dermatologist urges everyone to apply, reapply sunscreen this summer


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ As the weather gets warmer, a local doctor is reminding everyone to protect themselves from the sun’s harmful rays.

Dr. Elnaz Firoz, the director of dermatology at The Miriam Hospital, said wearing sunscreen while outdoors during the summer months is vital.

“We do find that patients who had early exposure, who had really bad blistering sunburns or a lot of sunburns as young children, they are at increased risk over time for melanoma and other skin cancers,” Firoz said.

Skin cancer, according to the American Cancer Society, is the most common type of cancer. The National Cancer Institute estimates that so far this year, more than 106,000 new cases of melanoma have been reported.

“No one is immune to skin cancer,” Firoz said. “Skin cancer impacts all ages, all races and all types of skin.”

Firoz said those who plan to head to the beach this summer should bring an umbrella or wear a hat. She said people should also apply, and reapply, sunscreen to the parts of the body that can’t be covered up.

“We typically recommend reapplying sunscreen every two-to-three hours if you know you’re out, if you know you’re sweating or if you’re in the water,” Firoz said.

Broad spectrum sunscreen protects from both UVA and UVB rays, according to Firoz. When it comes to the kind of brand, she said that’s not as important.

“What’s important is that it’s at least an SPF 30 and zinc and titanium are the main ingredients,” she said. “Zinc oxide and titanium oxide themselves are actually pure reflectors so they don’t go into your body, they sit on the surface of your skin and they reflect the UV rays off of your skin.”

Firoz said sunscreen should be applied 15 minutes before heading out, and recommended using a lotion instead of a spray.

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