Be sun-safe and sun-smart this summer and year-round. Choose the right sunscreen and use it properly to avoid sunburn and protect your skin. Here are a few guidelines:
Choose the right formulation.
Creams and lotions are good choices for daily use on both your face and body. Gels are oil-free and won’t clog pores, making them ideal for the face, especially if you are prone to acne. Sprays are useful in covering hairy places on the body (arms and thinning scalp) and restless, squirming children. They’re also easy to apply to your back and shoulders. Solid formulas are handy if you’re hiking, skiing or playing sports on the beach. They provide targeted protection on the lips, ears, nose and around the eyes.
Protect yourself under clothing and in cars.
Because sun damage is cumulative, every minute you spend exposed to the sun counts. Ultraviolet A rays (known as the burning rays) penetrate clothing and glass so it’s important to use sunscreen under clothing or if you are exposed to the sun through a window (especially in the car).
Reapply sunscreen often.
Studies show that if you apply sunscreen less than every 150 minutes, your chances of burning increase five-fold. Rule of thumb: if you are playing sports or swimming, reapply sunscreen every hour; if you are inert while soaking up the rays, reapply sunscreen every two hours.
Use enough of the product.
Most people simply don’t apply enough sunscreen. Think of filling a one-ounce shot glass twice to cover the average body. Apply an additional two teaspoons to the face.
Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure.
Some of the most common sunscreen ingredients work by interacting with your skin. If your sunscreen contains avobenzone or oxybenzone for UVA protection and octyl salicylate and cinnamates for UVB protection, apply the product a half hour before going outside.
Choose the right SPF.
Dermatologists recommend using SPF 15 every day of our lives. That’s the lowest SPF factor you should consider, even for day-to-day, incidental exposure. If you plan to spend more than an hour in the sun, choose an SPF 30 or higher.