Summer sunscreen tips

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Doctors continue to encourage the use of sunscreen. What you may not know about protecting your skin. (KFSN)

Doctors continue to encourage the use of sunscreen. What you may not know about protecting your skin.
Little Charlotte Ellis gets a good slathering of sunscreen by her grandmother, at Todd Beamer Splash Park in Northeast Fresno. And her floppy hat isn't just a fashion statement.
Charlotte's mom, Nicki makes sure her 13 month old's tender skin is shielded from the sun, from head to toe.

"We're lathering her up several times a day and keeping the hat on as much as we can, protecting her from a young age," said Nicki Ellis, mother.

When it comes to sun protection, grown ups seem to be good about the little ones, but not so much for ourselves. Doctors say, that's leading to an ever-rising rate of skin cancer.

"As much as we like the tan, we think it looks good, it's really a sign of damage to the skin," said Dr. Ken Ellzey, Chief of Dermatology, Kaiser, "That does, over time, increases the risk of skin cancers."

Dr. Ellzey says it's not enough to use sunscreen. The most effective ones, lotion or spray-on, have a sun protection factor or SPF of 30 or higher, offer broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays, and contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

The doctor also says to literally use your head when it comes to sun exposure. "We really recommend a wide-brimmed hat, 2-3 inches all the way around that really protects around. We see a lot of skin cancers on the ear and behind the ear."

Dr. Ellzey says many women might believe the SPF in their moisturizer and in their make up would "add up" to a higher sun protection number. But the highest SPF you put on is the one you're protected under.

If you laid out in the sun back in the day when you just used baby oil to maximize your tan and now you have sun damage, Dr. Ellzey says it's never too late to start protecting your skin. Once you start diligently using sunscreen, your skin will start to repair itself.

Charlotte's family isn't waiting until then, teaching her good sun protection habits now to last a lifetime.
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