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Wellness

Having Fun Under the Sun, Safely

By June 22, 2023No Comments

Did you know you should replace your sunscreen every three years? Be sure to protect your skin this summer with these sun protection tips!


 

How to apply sunscreen:

  • Apply 15 minutes before you go outside. This allows the sunscreen (of SPF 15 or higher) to have enough time to provide the maximum benefit.
  • Use enough to cover your entire face and body (avoiding the eyes and mouth).  An average-sized adult or child needs at least one ounce of sunscreen (about the amount it takes to fill a shot glass) to evenly cover the body from head to toe.
  • Know your skin. Fair-skinned people are likely to absorb more solar energy than dark-skinned people under the same conditions.
  • Reapply at least every two hours, and more often if you’re swimming or sweating.

Frequently forgotten spots:

  • Ears
  • Nose
  • Lips
  • Back of neck
  • Hands
  • Tops of feet
  • Along the hairline
  • Areas of the head exposed to sunlight

How to store sunscreen:

  • To keep your sunscreen in good condition, the FDA recommends that sunscreen containers should not be exposed to direct sun.
  • Sunscreen containers can also be kept in coolers while outside in the heat for long periods of time.

Types of sunscreen:

The directions for using sunscreen products can vary according to their forms.  Always read the label before using a sunscreen product. 

  • Lotions
  • Creams
  • Sticks
  • Gels
  • Oils
  • Butters
  • Pastes
  • Sprays

Understanding the sunscreen label:

  • Sun Protection Factor (SPF)
  • The SPF value indicates the level of sunburn protection provided by the sunscreen product. All sunscreens are tested to measure the amount of UV radiation exposure it takes to cause sunburn when using a sunscreen compared to how much UV exposure it takes to cause a sunburn when not using a sunscreen.
  • Higher SPF values (up to 50) provide greater sunburn protection. Because SPF values are determined from a test that measures protection against sunburn caused by UVB radiation, SPF values only indicate a sunscreen’s UVB protection.

Myth: There is a popular misconception that SPF relates to time of solar exposure. For example, many people believe that, if they normally get sunburned in one hour, then an SPF 15 sunscreen allows them to stay in the sun for 15 hours (e.g., 15 times longer) without getting sunburn. This is not true because SPF is not directly related to time of solar exposure but to amount of solar exposure.

  • Broad Spectrum
  • Broad spectrum sunscreen provides protection from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation. There are two types of UV radiation that you need to protect yourself from – UVA and UVB. Broad spectrum provides protection against both by providing a barrier that absorbs or reflects UV radiation before it can damage the skin.
  • Not all sunscreens are broad spectrum.

Sunscreen expiration dates

  • FDA regulations require all sunscreens to have an expiration date.
  • The rule of thumb when a sunscreen product doesn’t have an expiration date should be considered expired three years after purchase.
  • Expired sunscreens should be discarded because there is no assurance that they remain safe and fully effective.

To get more consumer information about sunscreen and sun protection, visit www.fda.gov.

 

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