Dr. Sandy Johnson is a dermatologist with Johnson Dermatology in Fort Smith. She said people are being diagnosed with skin cancer at a higher rate than ever before, so it’s important to protect yourself from the sun.
“One in five people now develop skin cancer, and having one sunburn before the age of 18 greatly increases your risk of having skin cancer,” Johnson said.
Johnson said the obvious way to protect yourself from the sun is sunscreen, but she said with so many options, it’s important to know what kind to buy.
“I always tell people to look for one that is broad spectrum, so it covers UVA and UVB,” Johnson said. “It’s an added bonus if it also covers infrared.”
She said people think that the higher the SPF, the less they have to re-apply, but she said a higher SPF is really just a waste of money.
“You want to use a sunblock that has an SPF of at least 30,” Johnson said. “Anything more than that, you think you’re getting more than you really are, but it doesn’t block much more of the rays.”
Of course, many people will be enjoying the sun out by the pool this year, so water safety is also important.
Bill Miller is the manager at Parrot Island Water Park in Fort Smith. He said one of the best ways to stay safe in the water is to get comfortable being in it.
“When you get in the water and you get scared is when you start to tense up and you start to sink under the water, so getting kids acclimated at an early age is pivotal to making sure they’re going to be safe,” Miller said.
But, Miller said the most important thing is simply being aware of where your family is at and how they’re feeling.
“Always keep an eye on your children,” Miller said. “Make sure you’re aware of where they are. After a whole day sometimes they start to get tired, and that’s where a life jacket would really kick in and help.”
Doctor Johnson added that you should re-apply sunscreen every hour you’re outside and every time you get out of the water.