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Sunscreen Dos and Don't

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Do apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside

If you use sunscreen that is a chemical based solution then it takes time for the lotion to be properly absorbed by the body to offer the best protection. Therefore, you should always put on your sunscreen 30 minutes before you go outside, and not when you’ve already reached the area where you are facing direct sunlight.

Don’t waste your money on super high SPF labels

An SPF label higher than 50 often costs significantly more money 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 simply 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 thickly 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 reapplying it every 2 hours while outside to ensure that you are constantly protected.

Don’t use spray on sunscreen if you can help it

While using spray on sunscreen is definitely better than nothing, it might not be as affective 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 both 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 a regular part of sun protection.

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