In light of the world's increasing environmental problems, cancer and other health issues resulting from excessive exposure to the sun are likely to become increasingly prominent. While many people are aware of the importance of skin protection, doctors and other medical professionals are calling for people to go to even greater lengths to protect their skin and overall medical health.
Tips For Sun-Safe Application of Sunscreen
Do apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside
If you use a chemical-based sunscreen, it takes time for the lotion to be properly absorbed by the body to offer the best protection. Therefore, you should always put on sunscreen 30 minutes before you go outside, not when you’ve already reached the area facing direct sunlight.
Don’t waste your money on super-high SPF labels
An SPF label over 50 often costs significantly more but doesn’t guarantee better protection. SPF 15 sunscreen filters out 94% of the sun’s rays, while SPF 30 protects the body from 97% of harmful UV rays. So, spending more money won’t provide significantly better protection than SPF 30, and might even cause you to be overconfident about how well you are protected from the sun.
Do apply enough sunscreen to cover yourself properly
The major reason why people still put themselves at risk when putting on sunscreen is that they don’t apply enough of it. Sunscreen should cover the entire body where it might be exposed to the sun, and it should be put on thick enough that it provides a proper barrier.
Don’t trust that sunscreen is waterproof
No sunscreen is ever completely waterproof, and while some sunscreens might purport to be resistant to water, it is difficult to say how long they can resist being washed off. So, as a general rule you should always put on a fresh layer of sunscreen after leaving the water when going to the beach or pool.
Do reapply your sunscreen every 2 hours
Sunscreen is not a one-off application, and it is prone to being rubbed off or slowly losing efficacy over time due to factors like sweat. The general rule of thumb is to apply sunscreen before leaving the house and then reapply it every 2 hours while outside to ensure you are constantly protected.
Don’t use spray-on sunscreen if you can help it
While using spray-on sunscreen is better than nothing, it might not be as effective at stopping the effects of UV rays as other sunscreen varieties because the layer of protection they offer is usually not as even or thick enough to work effectively. Wherever possible, try to use lotion sunscreens, particularly on the face.
Do check that it is broad-spectrum sunscreen
Even the highest SPF protection is only a measure of how effective the sunscreen is at protecting against UVB radiation. UVA radiation, however, also contributes to the formation of skin cancer, so should also be considered when buying sunscreen. Sunscreens that are effective against UVB and UVA radiation are labelled as “Broad Spectrum” and should always be the sunscreen of choice for anyone serious about protecting themselves from the sun.
Don’t only rely on sunscreen
Sunscreen is a very effective way of protecting yourself from the sun. However, it should always be used in conjunction with other protective measures. Wearing a hat, wearing a shirt, putting on sunglasses and seeking shade in the middle of the day should also be regular parts of sun protection.