What is sunscreen. Why you need it. How it works for you.
Know the 5 W’s and How of Sunscreen:
Who: Every single person living under the sun
What: Broad spectrum SPF 15 or higher; SPF 30 or higher for a day outdoors
When: Every day, 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours
Where: All skin that is exposed
Why: Minimize risk of skin damage and skin cancer!
How: An ounce (think of a shot glass) to entire body for each application.
Sunscreen is an important part of a complete sun protection strategy. But sunscreen alone isn’t enough to keep you safe in the sun. For a complete sun protection strategy, seek the shade whenever possible, wear sun-safe clothing, a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
When used as directed, sunscreen is proven to:
- Decrease your risk of skin cancers and skin precancers.
- Regular daily use of SPF 15 sunscreen is proven to reduce your risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) by about 40 percent and to lower your melanoma risk by 50 percent.
Help prevent premature skin aging caused by the sun, including wrinkles, sagging and age spots.
Who should use sunscreen?
Put simply, everyone! Men, women and children over a year old should apply sunscreen every day, including people who tan easily and those who don’t. Remember, your skin is damaged by sun exposure over your lifetime.
Children under the age of 12 months should not use sunscreen as their skin is highly sensitive at that age. Staying out of the sun; shade structures and sun-protective clothing are the most effective ways to safeguard infants.
What type of sunscreen should you apply?
Firstly, you should know what SPF means. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. If you’re inside most of the day with just short intervals in the sun, you can use a sunscreen or cosmetic product with an SPF of 15 or higher. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, especially when and where the sun is strongest, you need an SPF 30 or higher, water-resistant sunscreen.
However, no matter the SPF, reapplication every two hours is key. Sunscreen must also be reapplied immediately after swimming or sweating.
When should you apply sunscreen?
Every day! The best practice is to apply 30 minutes before going outside so that the sunscreen binds to your skin. Reapply every couple of hours, especially after swimming or excessive sweating.
Also, it is very important to know that even when the weather is cloudy, up to 80 percent of the sun’s UV rays still reach the earth. Going unprotected on a cloudy day can and will lead to skin damage.
Where should you apply sunscreen?
This sounds like an overkill, but it is recommended to apply sunscreen to your entire body before you dress for the day to ensure that your skin will be protected even if your clothing shifts or you remove layers.
Minimally, you should apply sunscreen on every part of your body that is exposed to the sun, including those easy-to-miss spots: the tops of your ears, back of your neck, your scalp (on the part line), tops of your feet and behind your knees.
Why should you apply sunscreen?
Sunscreen reduces your overall UV exposure and lowers your risk of skin cancer and sun damage. This alone should convince you to not neglect the use of sunscreen.
A common misconception is that sunscreen should be used only when you’re tanning on a beach. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Sunscreen should be applied whenever any part of your skin is exposed to the sun, which is essentially every single day.
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