When you walk into the drug store looking for sunscreen, there’s often a dizzying array of options. Nurse Rose Melendez, RN, director of the Emergency Department and Nursing Administration at Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center, tells what to look for as we stock up on sunblock for the summer.

Rose Melendez

Why is wearing sunscreen so important in the first place?

Nurse Rose: Wearing sunscreen whenever you’re spending time outdoors is extremely important because it protects you from sunburn and reduces your risk of skin cancer. Studies have shown that the more sunburns you get, the more likely you are to develop skin cancer. Wearing sunscreen daily also helps prevent signs of aging.

Q: How can I choose the best sunblock to protect myself and my loved ones?

Nurse Rose: To get the best possible protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays, which cause skin cancer, the sunblock label should include:

  1. Broad Spectrum
  2. SPF 30 or higher
  3. Water resistant or very water resistant (for up to 40 to 80 minutes)

Q: Is there a difference between the lotion and spray varieties?

Nurse Rose: Spray sunblock can be just as effective as the lotion variety, as long as it meets the requirements I just mentioned. Some experts have cautioned against using spray sunscreen with children due to the risk of inhaling toxins that may harm the lungs.

Q: How should I apply sunscreen and how much do I need?

Nurse Rose: You need about one ounce of sunscreen to cover the exposed parts of your body – but remember, there is really no such thing as too much sunblock. And don’t forget to reapply sunscreen every two hours or any time you get wet – like jumping in the pool.Concerned about skin cancer? Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center’s Aquilino Cancer Center offers a wide range of comprehensive cancer care.

Additional Health Tips from Rose

Hear more health tips from rose by running into WGTS 91.9 FM every Wednesday at 7:40 a.m.