Healthy Living: Soaking up the sun safely

Though Western Oregon's record-breaking temperatures are now behind us, above-average heat is still in the forecast, and if you're headed to the pool, beach or river to cool off, you'll need to put on some sunscreen.

Posted: Jun 29, 2021 7:06 PM
Updated: Jun 30, 2021 4:07 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Though Western Oregon's record-breaking temperatures are now behind us, above-average heat is still in the forecast, and if you're headed to the pool, beach or river to cool off, you'll need to put on some sunscreen.

Though your instinct might be to lather up with sunscreen right when you get outside, Oregon Medical Group pediatrician Dr. Eric Colgrove said that it can be healthy to enjoy the sun for five to 15 minutes before doing so.

"It is good to let your own body produce this natural hormone called Vitamin D, which is a misnomer. It's not a vitamin. It's something that your body needs to produce," he said.

After that time, putting on sunscreen is essential. According to Dr. Colgrove, sunburns don't only heat up your body but can lead to skin cancer, especially for children, teens and young adults.

"It's important to avoid sunburns all your life, but especially those first 15 to 20 years of life," he said.

If you're taking a family trip to the pool, be sure that your kids are sunscreened up. Sunscreen is only suitable for children older than 6 months.

When buying sunscreen, be sure to buy a product that is SPF 15 or above and is broad-spectrum, blocking UVA and UVB rays.

"The most important thing is not the number, but the reapplying. The higher the number, the thicker it typically is and so you don't need to reapply as much when it's really a high number," said Colgrove.

It's recommended that you reapply sunscreen every two hours, as well as right after you finish swimming, sweating, or toweling off.

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