How To Avoid Getting Skin Cancer

Health Matters: Sun Safety

Sorry, this video is no longer available

One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. In order to avoid being one of those people, it’s important to protect yourself.

It’s the first official week of summer which means these warmer temperatures are here to stay for a while.

There are several things you should know before you get outside and expose your skin to the sun.

“Most of the time I get burnt really easy so I like to wear sunscreen but like today, nothing,” says Seth Dutenhafer of South Fargo.

“We’re supposed to wear sunscreen but we really do not, at least I don’t,” says Emmie Smette of Fargo.

Forgetting to put on sunscreen and getting a burn may not seem like a big deal.
But dermatologists think otherwise.

“The more burns you have over your lifetime the higher risk you have of developing skin cancer,” says Essentia Dermatologist Amanda Beehler.

And with five million Americans being treated for skin cancer each year, it’s important to follow these steps when it comes to sunscreen.

“You need at least an ounce. That’s like a shot glass full to cover your arms and legs,” Beehler says.

Beehler also says don’t skimp when it comes to SPF. Anything below 30 won’t help you.

“Reapplying is probably the most important thing, too. You can’t just put it on once a day and then be done. So if you’re going to be outside all day at the cabin, you need to do every two hours,” says Beehler.

There are several misconceptions when it comes to spending time in the sun, for example thinking that you don’t need sunscreen because you tan easily and typically don’t get burned.

“Just because you tan doesn’t mean you’re not getting UV damaging rays so you still should use sunscreen,” Beehler says.

And what about Vitamin D?

“Keep in mind that a lot of our foods are enriched with Vitamin D so it would be best actually to get it through supplements or through foods rather than try to get it through the sun,” says Beehler.

But if you do notice changes on your skin, get it checked out sooner rather than later.

“If you have anything you’re concerned with it’s best to make an appointment with your doctor, dermatologist would be great, and then have us look at it,” Beehler says.

Beehler says you should wear sunscreen at least on your face every day of the year no matter what the temperature.

Essentia recommends seeing a dermatologist at least once a year.

For more information about Essentia’s services, head to