Here is what to look for when buying sunscreen - KCTV5

Here is what to look for when buying sunscreen

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With summer halfway over, it’s likely you’ve hit the pool, the beach or the lake.   If you’ve done so without wearing sunscreen, you’ve already caused irreversible damage to your skin. (CBS) With summer halfway over, it’s likely you’ve hit the pool, the beach or the lake. If you’ve done so without wearing sunscreen, you’ve already caused irreversible damage to your skin. (CBS)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

With summer halfway over, it’s likely you’ve hit the pool, the beach or the lake.

If you’ve done so without wearing sunscreen, you’ve already caused irreversible damage to your skin. Every burn increases your risk of cancer.

KCTV5 News spoke with two skin cancer patients who’ve learned just how much damage it can do. Their warning is to wear sunscreen no matter your age and skin tone any time you’re outside.

Only 18 percent of men and 32 percent of women use sunscreen daily according to Dr. Brian Matthys at Sunflower Dermatology in Riverside.

One person dies every hour from skin cancer in the United States. Matthys said the worst part of that is that for many patients, it could have been prevented. It’s all about being safe and picking the correct sunscreen.

“Two years ago I was in Mexico and I noticed a spot on my arm that looked a lot darker than normal. It came back as melanoma,” Amy Holdman of Overland Park said.

It was the spot the size of a pencil eraser that taught her anyone can be at risk.

“People don’t take skin cancer seriously enough. While something caught early can be treated – something like melanoma can become deadly pretty quickly,” Dr. Daniel Aires with The University of Kansas Health System explained.

He has removed melanoma from Holdman quickly enough on multiple occasions, each time saving her life.

Like many adults, the dangers of the sun and tanning beds weren’t talked about years ago.

“I truly wasn’t educated to know that you could die from skin cancer,” Holdman explained.

“This is so easy to prevent,” Matthys told KCTV5.

He said using sunscreen should be a daily habit, similar to brushing your teeth.

“I had no idea what to look for,” Holdman explained.

Here’s what both doctors recommend:

  • Don’t buy anything less than 30 SPF
  • Make sure it is a zinc based sunscreen
  • Don’t buy any product with Avobenzo in it as new research shows it may actually turn carcinogenic in the sun
  • Buy a reputable brand
  • Consult with your Dermatologist on which sunscreen is best for you

In a Consumer Reports test of 58 sunscreens, 20 of them tested at less than half of their labeled SPF.

One of Matthys’s patients, Emery, has been battling carcinoma on his arms and face for 15 years.

“I never wore sun block, I never even wore a big hat,” he explained.

He worked in construction and would get burnt nearly every day.

“It just burned like hell. It cost me a nights sleep, that’s for sure," he said.

He and Holdman both want their battles to serve as a reminder to lather up and save a life.

“I do feel like this is my reason…this is my purpose now,” Holdman explained.

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