Prevention of sun damage is a critical part of good skin care. Regular use of sunscreen will prevent or delay a variety of skin conditions including some skin cancers, premature wrinkling of the skin, and uneven pigmentation. A sunscreen with at least an SPF 30 and with UVA and UVB coverage is recommended. When swimming, choose a water-resistant formulation. Reapply sunscreen every 4 hours while outdoors or every 2 hours if swimming or sweating.
Bullfrog brand sun block is both non-greasy and water-resistant and comes in both gel and spray applications. It is also available in combination with an insect repellant if needed.
Sunscreens are chemical agents that help prevent the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation from reaching the skin. Two types of ultraviolet radiation, UVA and UVB, damage the skin and increase your risk of skin cancer. UVB is the chief culprit behind sunburn, while UVA rays, which penetrate the skin more deeply, are associated with wrinkling, leathering, sagging, and other effects of photoaging. They also exacerbate the carcinogenic effects of UVB rays, and increasingly are being seen as a cause of skin cancer on their own. Sunscreens vary in their ability to protect against UVA and UVB.
Most sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher do an excellent job of protecting against UVB. SPF – or Sun Protection Factor – is a measure of a sunscreen’s ability to prevent UVB from damaging the skin. Here’s how it works: If it takes 20 minutes for your unprotected skin to start turning red, using an SPF 15 sunscreen theoretically prevents reddening 15 times longer – about five hours.
Another way to look at it is in terms of percentages: SPF 15 blocks approximately 93 percent of all incoming UVB rays. SPF 30 blocks 97 percent; and SPF 50 blocks 99 percent. They may seem like negligible differences, but if you are light-sensitive, or have a history of skin cancer, those extra percentages will make a difference. And as you can see, no sunscreen can block all UV rays.
But there are problems with the SPF model: First, no sunscreen, regardless of strength, should be expected to stay effective longer than two hours without reapplication. Second, “reddening” of the skin is a reaction to UVB rays alone and tells you little about what UVA damage you may be getting. Plenty of damage can be done without the red flag of sunburn being raised.
Anyone over the age of six months should use a sunscreen daily. Even those who work inside are exposed to ultraviolet radiation for brief periods throughout the day. Also, UVA is not blocked by most windows.
Children under the age of six months should not be exposed to the sun. Shade and protective clothing are the best ways to protect infants from the sun.
The answer depends on how much sun exposure you’re anticipating. In all cases we recommend a broad-spectrum sunscreen offering protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
Many after-shave lotions and moisturizers have a sunscreen (usually SPF 15 or greater) already in them, and this is sufficient for everyday activities with a few minutes here and there in the sun. However, if you work outside or spend a lot of time outdoors, you need stronger, water-resistant, beachwear-type sunscreen that holds together on your skin. The “water resistant” and “very water resistant” types are also good for hot days or while playing sports, because they’re less likely to drip into your eyes. However, these sunscreens may not be as good for everyday wear. They are stickier, don’t go as well with makeup, and need to be reapplied every two hours.
Many of the sunscreens available in the US today combine several different active chemical sunscreen ingredients in order to provide broad-spectrum protection. Usually, at least three active ingredients are called for. These generally include PABA derivatives, salicylates, and/or cinnamates (octylmethoxycinnamate and cinoxate) for UVB absorption; benzophenones (such as oxybenzone and sulisobenzone) for shorter-wavelength UVA protection; and avobenzone (Parsol 1789), ecamsule (Mexoryl), titanium dioxide, or zinc oxide for the remaining UVA spectrum.
To ensure that you get the full SPF of a sunscreen, you need to apply 1 oz – about a shot glass full. Studies show that most people apply only half to a quarter of that amount, which means the actual SPF they have on their body is lower than advertised. During a long day at the beach, one person should use around one half to one quarter of an 8 oz. bottle. Sunscreens should be applied 30 minutes before sun exposure to allow the ingredients to fully bind to the skin. Reapplication of sunscreen is just as important as putting it on in the first place, so reapply the same amount every two hours. Sunscreens should be reapplied immediately after swimming, toweling off, or sweating a great deal.
Wearing sunscreen can cause vitamin D deficiency. There is some controversy regarding this issue, but few dermatologists believe (and no studies have shown) that sunscreens cause vitamin D deficiency. Also, vitamin D is available in dietary supplements and foods such as salmon and eggs, as well as enriched milk and orange juice.
If it’s cold or cloudy outside, you don’t need sunscreen.
This is not true. Up to 40 percent of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation reaches the earth on a completely cloudy day. This misperception often leads to the most serious sunburns, because people spend all day outdoors with no protection from the sun.
80 percent of your sun exposure comes as a child, so it’s too late to do anything now.
It appears that this universally promoted idea was based largely on a misinterpretation. A recent multi-center study showed that we get less than 25 percent of our total sun exposure by age 18. In fact, it is men over the age of 40 who spend the most time outdoors, and get the highest annual doses of UV rays. And since adult Americans are living longer and spending more leisure time outdoors, preventing ongoing skin damage will continue to be an important part of a healthy lifestyle.
Buy a high-quality product with an SPF of 15 or higher; check its ingredients to make sure it offers broad-spectrum protection; and decide whether it works better for everyday incidental use or extended outdoor use. Finally, look for The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation, which guarantees that a sunscreen product meets the highest standards for safety and effectiveness. Once you choose the right sunscreen, use it the right way. But remember, you should not rely on sunscreen alone to protect your skin against UV rays. By following our guidelines, you can lower your risk of developing skin cancer, while helping your skin look younger, longer.
Sun protection at any age is important to prevent the short-term as well as long-term damaging effects of sunlight. Sunscreen plays a major part and should be used in conjunction with other sun-safety steps for optimal sun protection.
A single overexposure to sunlight can result in painful, red, sunburned skin. A bad burn when young can have serious consequences such as skin cancer later in life. Long-term overexposure can cause skin cancer, wrinkles, freckles, age spots, dilated blood vessels, and changes in the texture of the skin that make skin look older.
The sun produces both visible and invisible rays. The invisible rays, known as ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB), cause most of the problems, including suntan, sunburn, and sun damage. There is no “safe” ultraviolet (UV) light, and there is no such thing as a safe tan.
Sun protection helps prevent skin damage, wrinkles, and reduces the risk of developing skin cancer. Newer broad-spectrum sunscreens contain products to block both UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreen should be reapplied at least every two hours to work. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you seek shade when possible. Avoid sunbathing, wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and protective clothing. A typical white tee shirt has an SPF of 3. Colorless dyes are available as laundry products which increase the SPF of fabrics to an SPF of 30. If you must be in the sun, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, even on cloudy days. Sunscreens, however, are not perfect. Because some ultraviolet light may still get through sunscreens, they should not be used as a way of prolonging sun exposure.
Sunscreens work by absorbing, reflecting, or scattering the sun’s rays on the skin. They are available in many forms, including ointments, creams, gels, lotions, sprays, and wax sticks. All are labeled with SPF numbers. The higher the SPF, the greater the protection from sunburn caused mostly by UVB rays, but this does not increase the length of time for sun exposure. Broad-spectrum sunscreens protect against both UVA and UVB rays. They do a better job of protecting skin from other effects of the sun including photo damage, photodermatitis, and rashes from the sun.
Sunscreens that block UVB rays are composed of some or all of the following chemicals: padimate O, homosalate, octyl methoxycinnamate, benzophenone, octyl salicylate, phenylbenzimidazole sulfonic acid, and octocrylene. Broad-spectrum sunscreens add oxybenzone or avobenzone (Parsol 1789) to block UVA rays. Mexoryl is a chemical that blocks UVA; its broad-spectrum characteristics allow sunscreens to be made with very high SPF factors. Physical sunscreens/blocks or chemical-free sunscreens contain titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide, which reflect UVA and UVB and are especially useful for people allergic to chemical sunscreens.
Sunscreen should be applied one half hour before going outdoors. Even water-resistant sunscreens should be reapplied often, about every two hours or after swimming, drying off or perspiring. Sunscreen should be applied generously and evenly so as not to miss any areas of sun-exposed skin. It should be kept out of the eyes, and UV light-blocking sunglasses should be worn.
Marathon Mist for Kids
Tips for Sun Protection
Sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor in the development of skin cancer. You can have fun in the sun and Be Sun SmartSM. Here’s how to do it:
Generously apply sunscreen to all exposed skin. The sunscreen should have an SPF of at least 15 and be broad – spectrum. Re-apply every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or perspiring.
Wear protective clothing such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, when possible.
Seek shade when appropriate, remembering that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.
Protect children from sun exposure by applying sunscreen.
Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet that includes vitamin supplements. Do not seek the sun.
Avoid tanning beds. UV light from the sun and tanning beds causes skin cancer and wrinkling. If you want to look like you have been in the sun, consider using a self-tanning product which does not expose you to UV light. Continue to use sunscreen daily.
Check your birthday suit on your birthday. If you notice anything on your skin that is changing, growing, or bleeding, see a dermatologist. Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early.