Sunscreen Tips for the Summer
During the summer, your exposure to the sun is at an all-time high. Every day is warmer, clearer, and sunnier, which means your chance of sunburn is sky-high! To protect yourself from the sun’s damaging rays, make sure you know how to properly apply and reapply sunscreen to protect yourself and your family.
When choosing a sunscreen, always pick one that offers both UVA and UVB protection. These sunscreens protect you from the UVB rays that cause sunburns and skin damage, as well as UVA rays that are the main risk factor for skin cancer. Also, sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide tends to block the rays better than chemical sunscreens (these sunscreens are usually referred to as “mineral sunscreens”).
Always choose a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, but don’t mistake higher SPF with more protection. SPF 30 absorbs and reflects 97% of the sun’s rays. SPF 50 absorbs and reflects 98% of the sun’s rays. The difference is negligible and doesn’t mean you have to apply it in less amounts or less often. Every sunscreen above SPF 30 should be treated as an SPF 30 sunscreen.
When applying sunscreen, use it early, often, and liberally. Sunscreen takes 30 minutes for your skin to absorb it. Apply it before heading outside. When applying it, use 1 ounce for every part of the body exposed to the sun. 1 ounce is about the size of a golf ball. Don’t forget to cover your ears, feet, and neck.
Reapply every two hours. Some sunscreens (particularly the spray type) need to be reapplied sooner, especially when swimming or sweating excessively. Consider using additional forms of sun protection such as a lip balm with SPF 30 or higher, a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses with UV protection, and long-sleeved shirts or sun-protective clothing. Seeking shade during the midday (10am to 4pm) is also wise, since the chance of sunburn is highest during these hours.