Have fun in the sun, but always avoid sunburns, tanning beds and unprotected sun exposure!
- There is a difference between sunscreens and sunblocks. Screens have broad-spectrum protection through chemicals with names like oxybenzone or avobenzone. Although these are excellent protectors, they can irritate sensitive skin, especially on the face or on the very young. Sunblocks use titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. They provide full protection by creating a barrier through which UV rays cannot freely pass. They are gentler on sensitive skin, but may not rub in completely.
- One common mistake in applying sunscreen is that most people apply only 1/3 to 1/2 the recommended amount. It should take at least 2 Tbs of sunscreen to cover the body.
- Reapply sunscreen every 1½ hours. Even water proof sunscreens lose their effectiveness with sweat, water and wear.
- Always apply your sunscreen about 30 minutes before you anticipate sun exposure.
- Within just five minutes of sun exposure, your skin may absorb enough UV radiation to develop minor sunburn.
Other sun protection
- The most harmful rays are when your shadow is shorter than you are (between 10 am and 4 pm).
- White clothing has only an SPF of 3. Clothing with a tighter weave is more protective. Clothing with darker colors, and clothing chemically treated for sun protection, are more protective.
- Additional protection is needed even if you have a “base tan” or use self-tanning lotion or spray-on tan.
- Beach umbrellas and other kinds of shade are a good idea, but they do not provide full protection because of the ability of UV rays to reflect and “bounce” off sand, water and decks. Make the effort to stay out of direct sun, but don’t forget to wear sunscreen every day.