Spending time outdoors is a great way to pass the summer hours, but it’s important to keep in mind the dangers that come from being in the sun. Overexposure to the sun can cause sunburn, premature aging, and even skin cancer. When selecting and using a sunscreen, there are four important things to remember:
1. Read the label – Board spectrum sunscreen protects against both UVA and USB rays. It’s also important to know what the sun protection factor (SPF) number on sunscreen means in terms of protection:
- SPF 15 sunscreen filters about 93% of UVB rays
- SPF 30 filters about 97%
- SPF 50 filters about 98%
- SPF 100 filters about 99%
A sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 is recommended. However, there is no sunscreen that completely protects against the sun’s rays.
2. Apply generously – One ounce of sunscreen should cover the arms, legs, neck, and face of the average adult. Sunscreen should be applied every two hours to maintain protection. It’s also a good idea to use a lip balm to protect your lips.
3. Use sunscreen every time you go outdoors – Being safe in the sun does not just apply to a bright summer day. Concrete, sand, water, and snow reflect 85-90% of the sun’s UV rays. Even on a cloudy day, these rays can reach the skin!
4. Don’t use expired sunscreen – Sunscreens usually have a shelf life of three years. If you have an expired bottle, throw it out and buy a new one.
Keep these tips in mind and your time in the sun should be fun – and safe!