Sunscreen Frequently Asked Questions

Skin cancer doesn’t discriminate against age, race, or gender. One of the best preventive measures to avoid skin cancer is to use sunscreen. Learn the answers to FAQ’s about sunscreen and why it is so important.
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It’s that time of year again. The weather is getting warmer, and the sun is shining brighter. The outdoors are beckoning you to come and join them. As you venture outside to work in your yard, climb a mountain, or splash in the ocean waves, remember to protect yourself from harmful UV rays with a generous layer of sunscreen. Below are some FAQs to help you brush up on your sunscreen knowledge and refresh your understanding of why sunscreen is so important.

Who Needs Sunscreen?

The answer to this question is easy. Everyone needs sunscreen. Skin cancer doesn’t discriminate against age, race, or gender. If your beautiful epidermis is being kissed by the sun, then you need to lather it with sunscreen. Don’t forget to apply it to places such as the tops of your ears and head, feet, and neck.

What Should I Look for When Choosing a Sunscreen?

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), you should use sunscreen at least 30 SPF as it blocks 97% of harmful ultraviolet rays. You should also choose a sunscreen that is broad-spectrum and water-resistant. Water-resistant sunscreen provides up to 40 minutes of protection in the water. Sunscreen that is “very water-resistant” can provide up to 80-minutes of protection in the water.

How Much Sunscreen Should I Apply?

The AAD also says that most people don’t apply enough sunscreen. If you find yourself getting sunburned even when wearing sunscreen, this may be the problem. It takes about an ounce of sunscreen to cover your skin adequately. To help put this in perspective, you can think of this as needing one shot glass of sunscreen. If you are using a spray-on sunscreen, make sure you are applying it generously. Too much sunscreen is better than too little.

How Often Should I Apply Sunscreen?

Did you know that it takes 15-minutes for your skin to soak in the sunscreen that you apply? When applying sunscreen, apply it 15-minutes before sun exposure to allow for absorption. It should be reapplied every two hours, or more often if you are swimming or sweating.

Is It True That SPFs Over 50 Don’t Make a Difference?

As stated earlier, when choosing a sunscreen, you want to select a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. The Mayo Clinicstates that “SPFs higher than 50 only provide a small increase in UV protection.” It’s also important to remember that a higher SPF doesn’t mean more extended protection. No matter the SPF, you should reapply sunscreen regularly.

Can My Lips Get Sunburned?

Yes! Your lips can indeed get sunburned. When spending time outdoors, protect your lips with a lip balm with SPF 30 or higher.

When Should I Wear Sunscreen?

If you are going to be spending time outdoors, you should wear sunscreen. Whether the sun is in full view or hiding behind clouds, you can be harmed by its ultraviolet rays. The AAD states that “even on cloudy days, up to 80% of UV rays can penetrate your skin.”

Can Sunscreen Expire?

Sunscreen does expire. It is an FDA requirement that sunscreen holds its original strength for at least three years. Pay attention to the expiration date on the bottle. If your sunscreen doesn’t have an expiration date, write the date that you purchased it on the bottle.