Are You at Risk for a Medicine/Sun Reaction?
Are You at Risk for a Medicine/Sun Reaction?

Going outside without sunscreen on puts you at risk for painful sunburns, signs of early skin aging such as wrinkling and age spots and certain types of skin cancer. With more than 3.5 million newly diagnosed cases each year, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, yet can often be prevented.

Regular sunscreen use helps protect against harmful UV rays all year, even on cloudy days. Here are some tips that will help you find the best sunscreen for you and your family and how to use it correctly for maximum protection.

How do UVA and UVB sunrays hurt my skin? How can I get protected against both?

The sun’s UVA rays result in skin aging and cancer. UVB rays are the cause of sunburns as well as other types of skin damage. Look for the words “Broad Spectrum” on sunscreen labels to know that the sunscreen has protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

What is “SPF” and what’s the best number to use?

The SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, is a measure of how well the sunscreen prevents sunburn caused by UVB rays. Use a sunscreen with SPF of 15 or higher to reduce risk of skin cancer and prevent early aging. Sunscreens with SPF less than 15 may only claim to prevent sunburn but not protect against the long-term harmful effects of the sun. It’s a little confusing because a sunscreen with a higher number such as 30 or 50 will provide some extra protection but not two or three times more. Keep in mind that a sunscreen must be used correctly to do its job.

When should a sunscreen be applied?

Apply enough sunscreen to dry skin to cover exposed areas at least 15 to 30 minutes before going out. Don’t forget to use sunscreen on your face, ears, hands, arms, shoulders, lips and the top of your head if you don’t have much hair. Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours… more often if you are sweating heavily or swimming.

What about water resistance?

Sunscreens can no longer be labeled “waterproof “or “sweat-proof.” Sunscreen products labeled “water resistant” should be reapplied after 40 to 80 minutes of swimming or sweating, right after drying off with a towel.

Proper and regular use of sunscreen is your best protection against the harmful rays of the sun. Make use of sunscreen a regular habit for you and your family.