EYE ON HEALTH: Don't get burned by sunscreen - WSMV Channel 4

EYE ON HEALTH: Don't get burned by sunscreen

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Given her Irish heritage and the fair skin that comes with it, Colleen O'Morrow has to be extra careful in the summer sun.

Nearly every time she goes out, the sunscreen goes on, though it can get tedious.

Colleen O'Morrow says "the oil is uncomfortable on your face.  Also, if you're going to an outside event it's kind of inconvenient to have to put it on and keep checking on it."

RELATED WEBSITE | Ohio State University Cancer Center

Like many, Colleen says she'd take shortcuts if she could.  But doctors worry that looking for simple solutions in sun protection might put people at risk.

For example, there are now pills on the market promising sun protection.  But doctors caution that there is no scientific proof that pills alone can protect you.

Dr. Shannon Trotter says "currently the research states that we don't have that just yet.  So, we tell patients this is not a substitute for common sense for protecting yourself with sunscreen."

Trotter is a skin care expert at The Ohio State University's James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.

She says another shortcut patients tale is buying sunscreen with a higher spf number, thinking they can use less.

Dr. Trotter says "Don't fool yourself that you're getting 50 and above, that you think you can be out longer and not do that reapplication every two hours.

In fact, Trotter says SPF 15 blocks about 93 percent of harmful sun rays and spf blocks about 97 percent so buying higher numbers doesn't mean you're getting that much more protection.  And when choosing clothing, avoid wearing whites.

Dr. Trotter says "wearing shirts or clothing that are different, darker shades such as say red or black can actually increase your sun protection.  They absorb the ultraviolet light."

Trotter says the key to enjoying the sun is respecting it, and not taking shortcuts that can burn you.

Studies are underway to develop pills that offer sun protection, but doctors say more research is needed.  Antioxidants found in some medicines and supplements have shown promise, but before taking them, you should talk to your doctor because they can interact with other medications.


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