Summertime is right around the corner. A time for fun in the sun, vacations, relaxing at the beach or pool. And also time for sun protection. The days are longer and the sun is hotter. We certainly don’t want a sunburn to get in the way of our comfort. There are several sunburn prevention tips we can easily follow to have a positive day in the sun. First and foremost is protection.
What is the best sun protection?
There are so many sunscreens available so it is important to understand what you need in a sun block to be effective. Reading the label and understanding what you are looking for is the golden ticket. Fortunately, The Food and Drug Administration requires all sunscreen labels to follow certain guidelines. First let’s talk about what you will see on a label:
Broad-Spectrum sun protection: there are two types of UV light that can harm your skin, UVA and UVB. UVA rays (aging rays) are what causes age spots, wrinkles, and premature aging. UVB rays (burning rays) are the rays that primarily cause a sunburn. Both UVA and UVB can contribute to skin cancer. All sunscreen products protect against UVB rays but not all protect against UVA.
- Broad-Spectrum sunscreens protect against both UVA and UVB rays. These products must pass a test to accommodate this label and are the products recommended by the Food and Drug Administration. If a product is not Broad-Spectrum, they must carry a warning label informing the consumer that it only protects against a sunburn, not skin cancer or aging.
SPF: SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor which is a measure of how long skin lathered up with sunscreen will not burn from UVB rays as opposed to unprotected skin. Dermatologists recommend using a sunscreen with a SPF of at least 30. The higher the number the slightly more coverage from the sun’s UVB rays but there is not a sunscreen that blocks 100% of UVB. The FDA requires sunscreens with less than SPF 15 to carry a warning label.
- SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays
- SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays
- SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays
- SPF 100 blocks 99% of UVB rays
It is very important to know that the higher SPF number does not mean you are protected longer in the sun than one with a low SPF. They both last about as long as the other. For best protection, reapplying the product every two hours is the best way to avoid a sunburn.
Water- Resistant Sunscreen: When a product label mentions it is Water-resistant it means how well the product will maintain in water up to 40 minutes or 80 minutes. The label should specify the time but No sunscreens are completely waterproof. For best results it is imperative to reapply sunscreen after getting out of the water or excessive sweating and every two hours.
When Should I Apply Sunscreen:
Sunscreen should be applied every day whether it is a cloudy day, cold day, snowy day, and, of course, a sunny day. The sun emits harmful UV rays all year long and the rays reflect off of snow, water, and sand. Apply sunscreen on all skin surfaces that will be exposed to the sun: your face, ears, back of the neck, lips, hands, and if you don’t have much hair on the top of your head, don’t forget your head.
About 15-30 minutes before you go outside, generously lather up your body with sunscreen. Most people only apply 25-30% of what is recommended. A good rule of thumb dermatologists recommend is to use as much sunscreen to fill a shot glass, 1 ounce. Of course adjust the amount as necessary to your body size.
Don’t forget the lips. Skin cancer can also form on the lips so apply a lip balm or lip stick that has SPF 30 or higher.
REAPPLY every 2 hours! If sweating or in the water, apply immediately.
Should I use a Lotion or Spray?
The problem with spray sunscreens is that it is difficult to know if your exposed skin is getting enough coverage. Because of this, the FDA continues to evaluate the safety of Spray sunscreens and how effective they are. If you use a spray sunscreen, make sure to use a generous amount and rub it in.
Consider the wind when applying spray sunscreen as well. You can spray the sunscreen in your hand and apply it for safety. Avoid the eyes, face, and mouth too so you or your kiddos avoid inhaling it.
What SPF Sunscreen Should I Use:
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using sunscreen that offer the following:
- Broad-Spectrum protection
- SPF 30 or higher
- Water resistance
Also, choose a sunscreen that you will use again and again. There are many types of sunscreens available so get the one that is best for you and the area of the body that needs protection. Many cosmetics have sunscreen in them and remember to apply those as well every 2 hours for maximum sun protection.
For extra protection for your face, head, neck, upper back, ears, and lips UV Protected Hats are a great addition to a worry-free day in the sun! With knowledge and proper sunscreen products you can relax outdoors and feel confident that you and your family will avoid sunburns.
Alarming! Watch This Video
Every year Consumer Reports tests sunscreens and shares with us the results of the tests. This has not happened yet in 2018 but when the reports come in I will update this accordingly.
May 18, 2017 — According to Consumer Reports annual sunscreen report in 2017, about one third of the sunscreens tested provided less than half of the SPF protection written on the label. 58 sunscreen products were tested and 20 of them had less than half of the SPF listed on the label.
Consumer Reports takes their testing seriously and evaluating two different metrics: First, they measure the accuracy of SPF, which measures how long you’re protected against the UVB rays that cause burns, and second, how effective are the UVA blockers, which shield the rays that cause premature aging.
After the testing, Consumer Reports chose only fifteen sunscreens they recommend. The following products received high marks in UVA and UVB protection, and scored perfect results on the accuracy of their SPF claim — meaning you and your skin can enjoy a worry-free summer.
The La Roche has been the number one sunscreen and tested 100% on everything for 2 years.
Consumer Reports Tested and Approved
#1 Lotion TWO YEARS IN A ROW
Scoring 100 % and Met its SPF 60 Claim
The following Sunscreens were tested as well and recommended by Consumer Reports. Keep in mind only 15 of 58 were chosen.