Lincoln dermatologist debunks common sunscreen myths

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – With weather warming up, kids and parents in Nebraska are spending more time outside.

Most everyone knows that it’s good to wear sunscreen, but a Lincoln dermatologist debunked some common myths about sunscreen.

Dr. Casey Bowen, a physician with Dermatology Associates of Lincoln, said he’s not picky about what type of sunscreen people use, as long as they’re applying it.

“I advocate for you to wear whatever sunscreen you’ll actually wear,” Bowen said. “The best sunscreens are probably a 50 or 60 SPF or higher.”

Amanda Jordon, a Lincoln woman, said she learned over time that sunscreen is necessary.

“I know as a kid, I always told my mom I wasn’t going to wear it, and I definitely notice now that I’m older,” Jordon said. “I have a lot of freckles on my arms from the places I didn’t wear it. So as an adult, I definitely make sure to wear it because I know just how much it hurts and how much it can start ruining your skin over the long term.”

On Wednesday, Bowen helped tackle misconceptions about sunscreen.

He said one thing people often think is that once you get above 30 SPF, the SPF coverage is essentially the same.

But he said that’s not totally true.

“The FDA actually tests sunscreen about four times thicker than the average consumer applies it,” Bowen said. “So divide whatever number you’re putting on by four, and that’s probably the actual SPF you’re getting.”

He said 50 SPF or higher is best.

Bowen said it doesn’t matter much if it’s lotion or spray form, but he did say spray is easier to apply.

Some people also think that when you wear sunscreen, you can’t get tan.

Bowen said you can still tan, but he doesn’t recommend it.

“I will tell you from a dermatology standpoint, there is no safe amount of tanning,” he said. “Tanning only happens in response to DNA damage. I would recommend people spray tan.”

So what should you look for when buying sunscreen?

Bowen said zinc oxide and titanium oxide are great ingredients to keep an eye out for.

They’re most commonly found in mineral sunscreens, which are available at most retailers.

But overall, Bowen said any sunscreen is good; the most important thing is just to use it.

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