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Sunscreen for Life: Here Comes the Sun

Dr. Lehrmann

It’s that time of year for summertime fun – and that means sun exposure!

That’s why it’s a good time to go over ways to protect yourself and your family from too much sun. Remember, sun exposure is for life, and protection is for everyone--every day.

The effects of the sun are cumulative and can be serious. Sun exposure can lead to skin aging, sunburn, eye damage, and skin cancer. Skin cancer is increasing in the US with over 6 million cases of basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma and over 8 thousand deaths from melanoma every year.

There are several ways to protect yourself from too much sun exposure. Protective clothing like hats and long sleeves, sunglasses, staying out of the sun in peak hours from 10 until 4, avoiding all tanning beds, and everyday sunscreen use can provide good protection. They all work together to block UV rays and protect your skin.

A great habit to start is the regular use of sunscreen. Everyone should use sunscreen every day. No matter the skin color or complexion, sunscreen should be used on everyone over 6 months old. The best way to think about sunscreen is the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How Method (from Skin Cancer Foundation)

Who: Absolutely everyone exposed to the sun (except for babies under 6 months) should use sunscreen.

What: Use a sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher for every day. Use SPF 30 or higher for outdoor activities. Put it on in the morning before you get dressed.

When: Use sunscreen every day. When going outdoors, apply 30 minutes before you go and reapply every 2 hours.

Where: Use sunscreen on all exposed skin.

How: Use about 1 ounce over your whole body for each application.

Why: Because everyone is at risk of sun damage and skin cancer, and everyone can benefit from sunscreen.


If you protect your skin, you can lower your risk of skin damage and skin cancer over your lifetime. Protect yourself and your children. Have fun in the sun, but be safe. The time to start is now. Because sunscreen is for life.

Dr. Lehrmann is a resident physician who sees patients of all ages and provides obstetrical services at Lone Star Family Health Center, a non-profit 501©3 Federally Qualified Health Center operating facilities in Conroe, Spring, Willis, Grangerland, and Huntsville, and serving as home to a fully integrated Family Medicine Residency Program to increase the number of Family Medicine physicians for Texas and our community.