Sunscreen: Are you doing it right?

Image: Sunscreen: Are you doing it right?

Did you know that skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer?

The good news is that it is also one of the most preventable. One of the ways you can protect your skin from the sun is by using sunscreen when you are outdoors. It is important to wear sunscreen year round but especially during the warmer months when the sun is at its most powerful. While no sunscreen will protect you completely from the sun, here are some important facts to keep in mind when choosing a sunscreen:

Broad Spectrum

Ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) are two types of rays that are harmful to your skin. UVA rays penetrate to the thickest layer of skin, the dermis, which can prematurely age skin and cause wrinkles. UVB rays, on the other hand, can burn the outer layer of your skin; UVB plays a key role in the development of skin cancer. It is important to select a sunscreen with “broad spectrum” protection as it will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays.

Sun Protection Factor

Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is the level of protection that the sunscreen will provide. The higher the SPF number, the more UVB rays will be filtered out by your sunscreen. The following is a breakdown of each level of SPF protection.

SPF 15 -> filters out about 93% of UVB rays
SPF 30 -> filters out about 97% of UVB rays
SPF 50 -> filters out about 98% of UVB rays
SPF 100 -> filters out about 99% of UVB rays

Water Resistant

Water resistant vs waterproof; what’s the difference? It is not possible for sunscreen to be “waterproof” or “sweatproof.” The terms have now been replaced with “water resistant” which means that the product can only protect the wearer from the sun for a limited amount of time in the water. The label should indicate whether the sunscreen is effective in water for 40 minutes or 80 minutes. Be sure to reapply sunscreen every two hours and more often if you are swimming or sweating.

Apply Correctly

Apply a generous amount before you are exposed to the sun. Don’t forget to apply to your ears, nose, neck, the backs of your hands, the tops of your feet and any areas on your scalp that are exposed. Your lips also need protection so use a lip balm that has SPF in it. UV rays can penetrate through clouds so it is essential to wear sunscreen year round – even in the colder months.

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