It’s just simple math.  You are TWICE as likely to develop deadly melanoma if you’ve had FIVE or more sunburns in your lifetime.  Now, let that sink in.   Start counting those painful sunburns over the years.  You only need one hand!

If you quickly got to five, put yourself on high alert.  The link between sunburn and skin cancer is undeniable. Just consider these facts:

  • Even ONE blistering, severe sunburn in childhood or adolescence greatly increases your chance of melanoma.
  • If you are fair skinned or if you have a close relative with a history of melanoma, your genes make you more likely to get melanoma from a sunburn. Research shows that UV rays that damage the skin can also alter a tumor-suppressing gene, meaning sun damaged skin cells have a harder time recovering from sunburn.
  • Light pink is still bad. Any change in color, from pink to red to even that golden tan you treasure, are signs that your skin has been injured.  That injury leads to weakness and susceptibility to cancer.
  • Up to 80% of those sneaky UVL rays are able to get through clouds. So you are only 20% protected on cloudy days.  Not a great stat.

But you can subtract from your risk by practicing sun safety.  The physicians at Midwest Dermatology recommend these lifestyle adjustments as outlined by The Skin Cancer Foundation:

  • Cover It Up – clothing with a tighter weave to keep sun out is a great barrier from the sun. The more skin you cover, the better – high neck, long sleeves and pants are ideal.  And put your best face forward with a fashionable, wide-brimmed hat and large sunglasses for protection of the face and eyes.
  • Play In The Shade – Spending the day outside? Shade is your refuge from the sun, especially between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm, when sun is most intense.  Duck under a tree, find shade in an awning or umbrella and always walk on the shady side of the street.
  • Use Sunscreen Daily – Sunscreen is a dermatologist’s favorite “preventative” care. Used correctly, it offers extremely good protection from the sun.  Every morning, apply sunscreen to your face and other areas that will be exposed.  And remember, the bigger the number behind SPF (sun protection factor), the more protection.  Your Midwest Dermatology physician wants you to choose a number that is higher than 30 for everyday use and in the 50+ range for long stays in the sun.  Toss out old sunscreen – it has likely expired – and replace it with one of today’s broad spectrum products that are not greasy and won’t sting your eyes.

To ensure your sun safety, your Midwest Dermatology physicians are counting on you to wear sunscreen every day.  Our doctors poured over the options and recommend sunscreen products from Skin Better Science and Elta MD.  Shop for these physician exclusive brands here.

The facts about sunburn add up to a red alert for our Midwest Dermatology friends and family.  Take them seriously, make some adjustments to your routine, and keep the sunscreen close at hand.  If you have a suspicious mole or skin growth, contact our office for an appointment.  Call (402) 933-0800 or schedule conveniently on our website at

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