Sunscreen, skin cancer: No fry day


Janice Gillispie loved to tan.

“When the tanning beds came out I thought I had to go every day,” she said.

That caught up with her.

“The place on my leg just looked like a busted blood vessel. When I went to the doctor,  the first thing they said was, ‘Oh, you’ve got melanoma.'”

She’s since had a number of run-ins with skin cancer and warns other to protect themselves now. 

OU Physician Dr. Pamela Allen agrees.

“We know by the age of 18 a person has received 80 percent of their sun damage, so it’s what we do as a young person that will determine how our skin will behave down the road,” she said.

New sunscreen guidelines won’t come out until December but changes will include warnings on sunscreens under SPF 15 and no more sweat-proof or water-proof listings on bottles.

Allen recommends SPF 30 or above however, she said anything over 50 doesn’t give any extra protection. 

She said sunscreen should block both UVB and UVA rays and should be re-applied every two hours.

Allen also warns people to keep a close eye on moles.

If you notice they are asymmetrical, have jagged borders, are more than one color, are bigger than a pencil eraser or have changed in some way, you should see a dermatologist. 

Skin doctors also recommend limiting your sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the rays are the most damaging.