5 Sunscreen Rules to Follow
’Tis the season of sun! Although sunscreen should be used all year-round, sometimes we slip out of the habit of daily sun protection during cold winter months and beautiful spring weather. Good news is it’s never too late to start using sunscreen and protecting your skin from UV damage. Here’s some tips to get the most out of your sunscreen!
- Apply, apply, and re-apply! Did you know in order to maintain UV protection you need to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours? And f you’re in the water you should reapply once you get out and dry off. Don’t forget SPF chapstick for your lips!
- Ditch the chemicals. Sunscreen works by one of two mechanisms- chemical or mineral. Chemical sunscreen contains ingredients such as avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, and ecamsule which work by absorbing the UV rays- these chemicals should be avoided! Recent research is shedding light on the adverse side effects of these chemicals, including absorption into the bloodstream and association with hormone disruption. Mineral sunscreen works by deflecting the sun’s rays, acting as a physical barrier between you and sun. Look for sunscreens that contain Zinc Oxide and/or Titanium Dioxide.
- Use SPF 30. SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays- think B for ‘Burning’. When used properly you can prevent blistering sunburns that cause cellular and DNA damage, decreasing your risk of skin cancer. Higher SPF products are available but no sunscreen will block all UV rays.
- Wear proper clothing and seek shade. You can increase your sun protection by wearing long sleeve swim wear when you expect to be in the sun for prolonged periods of time. Remember to bring a hat and sunglasses to protect your scalp and eyes too. If planning a day on the beach, bring a sun umbrella and seek shade whenever possible.
- Water-resistance. Summer is a popular time for water sports and visiting the beach. Water actually reflects UV rays and can intensify UV exposure. UV rays can also penetrate through the water, so even if most of your body is under the water you are still being exposed.
On average, 1 in every 5 American will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Minimizing UV exposure and preventing sunburns are the most preventable risk factors for skin cancer. The American Academy of Dermatology reported, “even one blistering sunburn during childhood or adolescence can nearly double a person’s chance of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, later in life.” Be safe this summer and don’t forget SPF!