Childhood sunburn doubles skin cancer risk

June 30, 2011 at 11:51 PM

ANN ARBOR, Mich., June 30 (UPI) -- One blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person's chances of developing melanoma later in life, U.S. skin experts warn.

Skin Cancer Foundation officials say babies and young children can't protect themselves from sunburn, so adults must do it for them.

University of Michigan Health System dermatologists say before considering which sunscreen to buy, consumers should know:

-- No matter which sunscreen you use, some radiation always gets through to your skin, so sunscreen alone isn't enough.

-- When possible, avoid peak sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

-- If you do go outside, seek shade and wear protective clothing, including a hat with a brim and sunglasses.

-- Don't forget to apply sunscreen to ears, noses, lips and the tops of feet.

-- It takes about a shot glass worth of sunscreen, or one ounce, to cover the exposed areas of the body.

-- Sunscreen also need to be reapplied every two hours, or more frequently, if swimming, sweating or toweling off.

-- Put on sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before sun exposure.

-- The American Academy of Dermatology recommends selecting a sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher, whose ingredients protect against the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays: UVB and UVA.

-- Do not use sunscreen on babies age six months or younger, keep them out of direct sunlight and cover them with protective clothing and hats when outdoors.

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