In our previous installment, we introduced the importance of adequate suntan lotion and what it protects against. Here we expand on the discussion.
SPF and UVB Protection
One of the first things you notice on a bottle of suntan lotion is its sun protection factor or SPF level. SPF protects your skin from UVB by preventing sunburn.1
Just how much SPF do you need? While there’s no definite answer to this question, Dr. Clarissa Yang, at Harvard Medical School, recommends “30 SPF or greater”.
For UVA protection, get something with the “active ingredients zinc, titanium, avobenzone or Mexoryl SX,” says Betty Long, RN, MHA, since they protect the skin “with little if any penetrating into the body.”
It’s about the ingredients, not the price tag, says Dr. Yang. More expensive doesn’t, necessarily, mean more protection.
How to use Suntan Lotion
The sun’s rays act fast. You should, therefore, put the sunscreen on before you go out and reapply it every hour or two, says Dr. James Lewis, MD, “especially if you’re going into water or sweating.”
SPF and broad-spectrum protection are a great start but there’s more to the look out for. The Environmental Working Group (EWG), for example, suggests avoiding sunscreen with oxybenzone, which can cause hormonal issues.
Vitamin A is another no-no in sunscreens. Dr. Patricia Wexler, MD, warns that this can even create a greater risk of skin cancer and sun sensitivity.
Another consideration is the limitation of sunscreens. They may protect you but they may not offer a complete solution. You should avoid intense exposure to the sun between 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, says Dr. Kenneth Arndt from Harvard Medical School. He also suggests wearing protective clothing, which covers the back of the neck and ears.
How do you protect yourself from the sun?
Please share in the comments below.
Disclaimer, or Use At Your Own Risk
Delmar Nursing and Rehabilitation does not take any responsibility for this post’s content. Any action you take based on its information is strictly at your own risk. You should always speak to your doctor regarding medical information and your health.