Get outdoors and enjoy spring: Aspirus encourages strong sun-protection habits

WAUSAU, WI – As spring blossoms, many of us will be out enjoying the weather. If you’re heading outside, remember to protect your skin from the sun.

“Wearing sunscreen, seeking shade, and using sun-protective clothing are all effective ways to protect your skin from the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays, which are present even on cloudy days,” said Katrina Mattek, PA-C, MPAS, physician assistant with Aspirus Plastic Surgery and Aesthetics. “In addition to increasing one’s risk for skin cancer, UV radiation also leads to increased photoaging, which includes wrinkling of the skin and pigment changes such as brown spots.”

What should you look for in a sunscreen?

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons and Mattek recommend using a sunscreen that:

  • Offers broad-spectrum protection. This means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Has an SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or higher.
  • Is water-resistant.

How should you apply sunscreen?

Most people don't apply enough sunscreen. You should put on enough sunscreen to cover all skin not protected by clothing. Most adults need about one ounce of sunscreen - two tablespoons - to fully cover their body.

In addition:

  • Apply sunscreen about 15 minutes before going outdoors.
  • Be sure to apply it to the tops of your feet, your neck, your ears, and the part-line at the top of your head.
  • Reapply about every two hours. You should also reapply after swimming or sweating.

What about sun-protective clothing?

Wearing hats, long-sleeved shirts, or other types of sun-protective clothing is another easy way to give long-lasting sun protection. If possible, look for clothing with a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) rating of at least 40.

“Spring is a great time to get your sun-protection habits back on track for summer,” Mattek said. “Taking extra precautions now can give long-term benefits down the road, such as maintaining a more youthful appearance and decreasing your risk of skin cancers.”

Aspirus Plastic Surgery and Aesthetics has clinics in Wausau, Medford, Wisconsin Rapids, Rhinelander and Stevens Point. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 715-870-2162 or visit