Sunscreen Guidelines

Posted on June 20, 2011 16:05 pm CDT

It’s almost summer time! Are you stocked up on your supply of sunscreen? Or are you a little overwhelmed by all of the choices available out there? Well, let us try to help you by going over some of the basic need-to-know information about sun protection. First and foremost, sunscreen alone does not protect you from the damage that the sun can cause. It should always be used in combination with a complete sun protection regimen. The FDA recommends using sunscreen daily in addition to seeking shade and wearing long-sleeved pants and shirts, UV blocking sunglasses, a wide brimmed hat in addition to avoiding tanning booths.

When deciding on a sunscreen to purchase, these factors should be considered. First, make sure that you are purchasing a broad-spectrum sunscreen. This means that the product will protect your skin from harmful ultraviolet A (UVA) AND ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from the sun. Then, make sure to only purchase a broad spectrum sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 or higher. Only these products can state that they protect against skin cancer if used as directed with other sun protection measures. Sunscreens with an SPF of 2-14 have not been shown to help prevent skin cancer or early skin aging. Next, avoid purchasing sunscreen products that use words such as “sun block”, “sweat proof” or “waterproof”. Sunscreen product can claim to be “water resistant” but they must specify if they offer 40 or 80 minutes of protection while swimming or sweating. Lastly, avoid sunscreens that claim to provide protection for more than two hours. Sunscreen should always be re-applied after prolonged sun exposure (after 1 ½ or 2 hours) or after swimming or sweating.

Sunscreen should be applied daily. Studies show that adults who use sunscreen daily can drastically reduce their risk of developing melanoma and other types of skin cancer. So, put that sunscreen on and keep your skin healthy!


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