BEND, OR -- More sunshine is expected across the High Desert Wednesday and Thursday; with the nice weather comes the increased risk of skin damage. Amy Watson is an assistant professor at OSU-Cascades who has studied people’s behaviors in the sun. She says most people understand the danger associated with tanning beds, but they think outdoor sun exposure is healthier. Watson tells KBND News many Central Oregonians are putting themselves at risk by going out unprotected, "We also found that people have no idea how to use sunscreen correctly. So, people are exposing themselves intentionally outside, and they’re doing so thinking, ‘Oh, well I put some sunscreen on – so, I’m going to get some sun but I’m not going to burn; it’s going to be ok’."
The average person should use one ounce of sunscreen at a time, which is about the amount in a shot glass. And, Watson says, you should reapply often, "Your bottle will tell you specifically, but usually it’s 80 minutes – you’re supposed to reapply every 80 minutes. Obviously, more frequently if you’re getting in and out of the pool or in and out of the river and toweling off, or if you’re playing beach volleyball or something like that and getting really sweaty and toweling off."
She says it's easy to forget that UVA and UVB rays are always a concern, even while driving. That's why people get the "farmer tan" on their left arm, from hanging it out the window on nice days. "You’re probably not putting sunscreen on to get into your car and drive. But, we see increased rates of skin cancer having to be removed on that side of the body, as opposed to the right." Watson adds, "If you are going to be outside doing outdoor activities for a prolonged amount of time, even on a cloudy day, go ahead and put it on. Just make it part of your daily routine and don’t skip it."
Click HERE to listen to our full conversation with OSU Cascades Assistant Professor Amy Watson.