Q. DOES SPF 15 MEAN I CAN STAY IN THE SUN 15 TIMES LONGER WITHOUT BURNING?
A. Unfortunately, no. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and it is a measure of how long you will be protected from UVB rays before you burn. It ends up being related to total solar intensity as well as time. For instance, the rays are more intense at noon in the Bahamas vs Alaska.
SPF 30 to 50 products are ideal (more is not better).
Q. SHOULD I GET A BASE TAN?
A. A tan is your skin’s response to deeply penetrating UVA rays to protect you from further damage. Those rays also encourage premature wrinkling, aging, and can increase your skin cancer risk. A “base tan” is simply damaging your skin ahead of time so you can damage it more later. Please, no.
Choose BROAD-SPECTRUM sunscreens to ensure you are getting UVA protection along with UVB. Sunblocks like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide or sunscreens with avobenzone are good choices.
Q. HOW MUCH SUNSCREEN DO I USE?
A. It takes a full ounce of sunscreen to cover an averaged sized adult to get the SPF protection stated on the bottle. If you have a bottle of sunscreen that lasts you all summer, something is wrong!
To visualize: An ounce is equal to a shot glass. Just don’t drink it.
Q. WHAT DOES “APPLY SUNSCREEN LIBERALLY” REALLY MEAN?
Not everyone has the same size body or face and not everyone has the same amount of skin exposed to daylight. Here are some SPF application best practices:
• Spread a layer you can see over the areas of your skin that will be exposed to daylight.
• Massage this layer into the skin.
• If you’re planning a long day outside, apply another slightly thinner layer.
Q. WHEN DO I APPLY SUNSCREEN?
A. You must apply SPF *before* you go outside. Research has shown that sun damage begins the first minute your unprotected skin sees daylight—not sunlight, but daylight! So don’t wait until you get to the golf course or the beach to start putting your sunscreen on. Apply chemical sunscreens 20 – 30 minutes before sun exposure. However, physical sunblocks, which contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, take effect immediately. Remember to reapply your sun protection every 2 hours, more often if you are sweating or swimming.
There is no such thing as “waterproof” sun protection but look for water-resistant products if you will be swimming or sweating.
REMEMBER! Daily activities expose us to a lot of UV radiation. Just 10 minutes of unprotected exposure per day equals 60 hours per year (or 600 hours after 10 years)! So please use an SPF 30-50 broad-spectrum sunscreen DAILY on exposed skin.