Another summer is well upon us, so it’s a good time to remind you to apply sunscreen correctly before heading out to those fun summer activities. It’s generally taught by Cancer and Dermatology groups that most of us don’t apply sunscreen correctly. Below is some good information and a short video to help you get the maximum benefit from your sunscreen this summer.
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and is a rating scale for how well a sunscreen will protect skin from UVB radiation (the kind that causes sunburn). An SPF 15, for example, will block 93% of UVB rays—giving good protection for most people. It’s important to know that SPF protection is not a linear calculation, meaning that an SPF 30 does not give you twice the protection of an SPF 15. An SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays, or roughly 4% more than an SPF 15. An SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB, only 1% better than an SPF 30.
And the most important thing to remember about SPF, is that when you don’t apply sunscreen correctly, the SPF goes way down. Using half the recommended amount of sunscreen reduces the SPF by the square root of the SPF. So an SPF 30 would essentially become an SPF 5.5!
It’s very important to make sure your sunscreen provides “broad spectrum” protection, meaning that it protects your skin from UVB (burning rays) and UVA (rays that cause premature skin aging). Most mainstream sunscreens follow the newest FDA guidelines for labeling that ensures you are getting the best UV protection from your sunscreen.
Spray or Lotion?
Spray-on sunscreen is quite popular today for it’s convenience of use. When applied correctly, sprays give the same protection as a lotion. But although spraying is easy, applying the proper amount—especially in windy conditions—can be more difficult. Also, children may not have the awareness to not accidentally inhale the spray, so for them, a lotion is probably a better choice.
Apply Sunscreen Correctly
We’ve touched on a few things above that will help you get the most out of your sunscreen this summer. Of course the most important thing is to apply sunscreen correctly or you simply won’t be as protected as you should be when you’re out in the sun. Below is a great video that offers some additional tips to getting your sunscreen on right.