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NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Whether you’re at a splash pad or under the shade, there’s an invisible danger everywhere you go.

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Prolonged exposure to sun’s ultraviolet rays can cause skin cancer, but it can be prevented by simply wearing sunscreen. But, Dr. Rohit Sharma a skin cancer surgeon at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas says despite awareness, some misconceptions still exist.

A little drop of sunscreen won’t do it. Dr. Sharma says covering a large portion of the skin will require at least a shot glass full of sunscreen lotion.

It’s not enough to hide behind your makeup’s SPF strength. “Most manufacturers of makeup typically have an SPF rating of only 15,” says Dr. Sharma.
The American Cancer Society recommends the minimum of SPF 30 sun protection.

Another common mistake — assuming that a waterproof sunscreen is safe for a day at the pool. The FDA has mandated the labels to have 40 minute or 80 minute water resistance. That means that the drug is water resistant for that time period only. “Theoretically if you purchase a sunscreen that’s water resistant at 40 minutes , you will need to reapply that every 40 minutes,” says Dr. Sharma.

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If you’re holding on to a bottle from last year, it’s time to ditch it. Dr. Sharma says sunscreens expire. Sunscreen also loses effectiveness if left in a hot car for a long time.

Don’t be under the impression that hair protects scalp. Your scalp can burn and sometimes cancer lesions are hard to find on the scalp. “We would recommend that individual wear a wide brim solid hat to shade their scalp,” Dr. Sharma tells CBS11 News.

People with darker skin are as susceptible to cancer as people with lighter skin. Dr. Sharma says, sunscreen application needs to be a daily habit for everyone – just like brushing teeth.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is responsible for more than 9,000 skin cancer deaths each year.

The U.S. Surgeon General called skin cancer is a major public health issue. In response Boston and Miami are offering free sunscreen in dispensers just like the anti-bacterial sanitizers you see at hospitals and airports. The Texas State Fair also offers free sunscreen.

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