AUSTIN (KXAN) — With temperatures heating up and sunnier days ahead, many visitors and locals of Austin will turn to our lakes and the many swimming spots here in Central Texas to beat the heat and stay cool.
Meteorologist Sean Kelly spoke with Doctor Emily Wood, who is a dermatologist at Westlake Dermatology in Austin, Texas about best skin protection practices in the months ahead. You can read the interview below to learn more.
Sean Kelly, KXAN News: There’s a lot of people who are going to be out and about they’re going to be out in the lakes, we’ve got visitors, friends, family coming in town, what are some best tips to prepare for some long days ahead and some of the sunny days ahead when it comes to skincare?
Dr. Emily Wood, Westlake Dermatology: If you can, I would say avoid the peak sun hours of the day, which are typically between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. Of course, we’re in Texas, so we all live near lakes, and there are pools widely available. So, sometimes that’s not possible. So I think good sun protection tips are using a broad spectrum mineral sunscreen, I recommend an SPF 50 or higher. Studies have shown that even us dermatologists who are pretty we geek out about sun protection, we don’t put on enough sunscreen to actually give you the number that they print as far as SPF labels. So if you’re putting on you know, an SPF 50, then you’re probably getting more like 30. So, that’s what I like to say 50 or higher. So, there was a myth that the higher numbers didn’t actually give you more protection, but that’s actually been dispelled. So, the higher number will give you more protection. So, if you’re willing to wear an SPF 100, that’s even better. And then the mineral based sunscreens are those that contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, those are generally going to be safer for all skin types as in, they’re not going to cause acne breakouts.
Kelly: What’s the most common spots on our body that are often forgotten when it comes to putting sunscreen on or even reapplying sunscreen?
Wood: Sure, I think a lot of people forget about your feet. So, you’ll put on sunscreen head to toe and then your feet are poking out. You know from under an umbrella. I think also scalp is really important. A lot of people get a lot of sun damage in the part of your hair. And then down the road. You know, 20 years later, we see little skin cancers pop up.
Kelly: Are you prone more to sunburn while you’re in water?
Wood: Yeah, so water just in general, it’s going to make the sunscreen product, not last as long. And so you do want to look for water resistant. But even with those, you need to really reapply every two hours. So I find a lot of patients you know, you get sidetracked, you forget, it’s been a few hours out in the pool or the lake. So if you are that type of person who tends to forget to reapply, I think that’s where the sun protective clothing is very helpful.
Kelly: I get a lot of these questions all the time, or the people use it as an excuse to maybe not put on sunscreen, can you get sunburn on a cloudy day?
Wood: You definitely can. So, I think you probably know this well to that, you know those cloudy days, actually sometimes the sun can be even more powerful. So, even on a cloudy day, you know, slather up with the SPF, put on your sun protective clothing. As we enter into summer, some of you have more time off to come get your skin checked. If you haven’t had that done by a board certified dermatologist, I encourage you to do that.