Quick Tips for buying and applying sunscreen


Idaho has invariably ranked among the states with the highest death rates caused by melanoma, the most common form of skin cancer.

According to a 2014 study by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare from 2007 to 2011, Idaho was ranked number three in the nation for deaths caused by melanoma. Many of those deaths could have prevented by simply as applying sunscreen.

“I’m very strict about it,” says Lauren Giacopelli, a mother of two. “We re-apply, I like to use [SPF] 50.

Protecting herself and family from the sun is highly important, but when it comes to buying sunscreen it’s overwhelming.

“There are so many things you’re not supposed to use and sunscreens you’re not supposed to use, so that’s what’s hard as a parent,” she told, “I just buy, you know, whatever, but I feel like I second guess what I use a lot.”

So what you should look when you buy a sunscreen? It’s a question often asked from Dr. Dustin Portela, a dermatologist with Saltzer Medical Group and Treasure Valley Dermatology.

According to Portela here is something to look for: a broad-spectrum sunscreen that covers UVA and UVB rays from the sun, a sunscreen that’s at least SPF 30 or higher, and should be water resistant if you’re swimming or exercising.

“Use the one that you like to use because then you’re going to use it,” he tells. “If you prefer a spray, a cream, a lotion, something that’s a physical blocker or a chemical blocker, they’re all effective. You just need to put them on regularly.”

Portela suggests applying sunscreen for about 20 minutes before going outside in the sun.It gives sunscreen time to sit on the skin. He also recommends to re-apply in the interval of every two hours.

“Most of us don’t apply sunscreen as much as the studies done on the sunscreen indicate that we should,” he told. “For an adult, they tell us that a shot glass full of sunscreen would cover the whole body.”

Portela says that even if you think you don’t need it, still you do. Sunburn is the most instant problem caused by sun exposure, and the damage can be a long-lasting one.

“We know that increases your risk for skin cancer. We treat patients from infancy all the way to the more mature and we see a lot of sun problems that come on at a later age,” he says. “If you get into the habit of applying sunscreen when you’re younger it does prevent a lot of problems like skin cancer, premature aging, wrinkling and other types of rashes.

On  Thursday, May 24 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saltzer Medical Group will be holding a “Healthy Skin Check” event. It will be located at 215 E. Hawaii Avenue in Nampa.