How do I choose a sunscreen?
The key to “BROAD SPECTRUM” sun protection is to find ingredients that protect against UVA AND UVB.
- Look for a product with a minimum SPF of 30 to protect against the sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays.
- Look for ingredients such as Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, Parsol (Avobenzone), Mexoryl, or Helioplex to protect against ultraviolet A (UVA) rays which penetrate more deeply into the skin and are responsible for premature aging and contribute to the development of skin cancer.
SUN PROTECTION GUIDELINES
- Use a Broad Spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher!
- Use it daily! 80% of skin cancers occur on the head and neck, mostly due to day-to-day exposure to the sun.
- Put it on in the morning after you brush your teeth.
- Apply generously!! 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen is needed to cover the entire body. As a rule of thumb, a pea size should cover an area about the size of your palm.
- Apply sunscreen 30 minutes prior to significant sun exposure
- Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours and more often if you are swimming, exercising, or sweating
- Seek the Shade — Minimize sun exposure between the hours of 10am and 3pm
- Avoid Tanning Beds!!
- Cover up — Wear a wide brimmed hat, sunglasses, and protective clothing
- Check your birthday suit on your birthday. If you notice anything changing, growing, or bleeding on
- your skin, see a dermatologist. Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early.
Sun Protective Clothing
Sun protective clothing and hats are a great way to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays while allowing you to enjoy the warmth of the sun. But not all clothing is created equal. As a rule, light-colored, lightweight and loosely-woven fabrics offers minimal protection from the sun. For example, white cotton Tshirts provides an average ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 7. A green cotton T-shirt offers an UPF of 10. On the other hand, a thicker fabric such as velvet may provide a UPF of 50.
High Tech Clothing
Fortunately, newer high-tech clothing are light weight and breathable while offering protection against UVA and UVB. These clothes have been specially treated with UV absorbing dyes that provide UPF of 50+. Click below for some suggested brands of clothing.
Sun Protective Laundry Additive
Alternatively, if you prefer to not buy special garments, you can wash sun protection into your own clothes! A laundry additive, Sun Guard, contains the sunscreen Tinosorb. When added to a detergent, it increases the UPF of the clothing, and this protection lasts through 20 washings.