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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sunscreen Insect Repellent
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.
Marathon Mist for Kids
Tips for Sun Protection
- 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.