We’re always told to apply sunscreen before venturing outside. But do we really know how much sunscreen we should be slathering on our bodies and those of our children’s? Here’s what you should absolutely know about sunscreens.
#1 We all need sunscreen. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a morena or a chinita. You need sunscreen, and so do your kids. The United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reminds us that anybody can get skin cancer from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Wearing sunscreen can protect us from harmful UV rays.
#2 The best sunscreen offers broad spectrum protection, which protects against UVA and UVB rays, Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30 or higher, and water resistance. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you must wear sunscreen every day that you’ll be outside. After all the sun shines every day, right? Don’t think that you don’t need sunscreen on cloudy days either. Up to 80 percent of the sun’s UV rays can still penetrate your skin on cloudy days.
#3 Broad spectrum coverage means you are protected against UVB and UVA rays. Sunlight consists of two types of rays, UVA and UVB. Apart from causing skin cancer, these rays may wreak havoc on your skin via wrinkles and age spots (UVA) and sunburn (UVB).
#4 Okay, just because you wear sunscreen doesn’t mean you can bask under the sun all day. Your skin needs more protection than that. Wear protective clothing, a hat, and sunglasses.
#5 Take cover when the sun’s rays are at their strongest. That’s between 10 AM and 2 PM. Those may seem like the perfect time for kids to go swimming, but they’ll pay for it when they find themselves with painful sunburn.
#6 This needs to be said: There is no safe way to tan. You damage your skin every time you lie down on the beach, hoping you’d get a touch of bronze on your skin.
#7 There are different types of sunscreen, from gels and lotions to sticks and sprays. What you use is a matter of personal choice, but AAD recommends creams for dry skin and your face, gels for hairy areas, and sticks for the area around the eyes.
#8 Some sunscreens have the added benefit of being insect repellants. While this may seem convenient, keep in mind that sunscreen needs to be used generously and insect repellant sparingly. So better to purchase and use these products separately.
#9 Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before you venture outdoors. Slather it on generously over skin which won’t be covered by clothing. Reapply every two hours. Protect your lips with lip balm or lipstick with sunscreen coverage of SPF 30 or higher.
#10 It is best to avoid exposing babies six months below to the sun’s rays. If you must venture out, garb them in appropriate wear and keep them in the shade. Babies six months up must wear broad spectrum, water resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher when going outdoors.