Protect your skin from harmful sun exposure with the right sunscreen.
Summer is approaching and you are itching to get out into the beautiful Florida sunshine. Before you do, make sure your skin is protected with the right sunscreen.
You may remember the old adage, “The higher the SPF the better.” According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, SPF (sun protection factor) is only half of the equation. Look for a sunscreen that offers “broad spectrum” protection. Broad spectrum sunscreens protect your skin from two types of ultraviolet radiation, UVA and UVB.
The numerical SPF assigned to a particular sunscreen measures the lotion’s ability to block UVB from damaging the skin. UVB exposure causes sunburn. An SPF of 15 blocks about 93 percent of the UVB rays while SPF 30 filters out 97 percent. If you have fair skin or a history of skin cancer, use a higher SPF.
On another spectrum
Choosing a broad spectrum sunscreen ensures you are also protected from UVA rays, which penetrate deeper and are associated with skin cancer. If the bottle says “Broad Spectrum,” that particular sunscreen has passed the FDA’s rigorous tests to protect you from cancer-causing rays.
The right guy for the job
Once you find a broad spectrum sunscreen, make sure you choose the right type for your activity. If you are spending a small, casual amount of time outside, a moisturizer with a SPF 15 or higher should suffice. However, if you are working outdoors or playing sports, choose a thicker water-resistant lotion.
Follow the directions
Sunscreen is effective when applied correctly. Follow these simple rules.
- Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure to allow absorption
- Reapply every two hours
- Apply sunscreen again after swimming, sweating a lot or toweling off
To learn more about skin cancer, visit our online health library. If you suffer a sunburn and need to seek medical advice, contact our free Consult-A-Nurse® service with any healthcare questions or for a physician referral at 1-888-741-5119.