What is Sunscreen?

Michelle Mak Daily Life, Newcomer Information

Sunscreen is a cream or lotion rubbed on to the skin to protect it from the sun. Sunscreen reduces your overall UV exposure and lowers your risk of skin cancer and sun damage.With the sunny weather all week, it is important to keep your skin safe and use sunscreen everyday.

Who should use sunscreen?

  • Everyone should use sunscreen! Children over 6 months of age should use sunscreen everyday!
  • Babies under the age of 6 months are the only exceptions; their skin is highly sensitive. Those with infants who are under the age of 6 months should stay out of the sun. Shade structures (Such as umbrellas) and sun-protective clothing are the best ways to protect infants

Sunscreen includes active ingredients that help prevent the sun’s UV radiation from reaching your skin. Here’s how the two types of sunscreen work for you:

  • Physical sunscreen ingredients (including the minerals titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) block and scatter the rays before they penetrate your skin.
  • Chemical sunscreen ingredients (like avobenzone and octisalate) absorb UV rays before they can damage your skin.

What does SPF mean?

  • When you buy sunscreen, you will often see the letters “SPF” followed by a number. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. The number tells you how long the sun’s UVB rays would take to redden your skin if you apply the sunscreen exactly as directed compared with the amount of time without sunscreen. So, if you use an SPF 30 product properly, it would take you 30 times longer to burn than if you used no sunscreen.

What level of SPF do I need?

  • If you’re inside most of the day with just short intervals in the sun, you can use a sunscreen or cosmetic product with an SPF of 15 or higher. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, especially when and where the sun is strongest, you need an SPF 30 or higher, water-resistant sunscreen.

No matter the SPF, reapplication every two hours is key. Sunscreen must also be reapplied immediately after swimming or sweating.

Choosing a sunscreen: What to look for

  • Broad spectrum: Protects your skin from both UVA and UVB rays.
  • SPF 15: Ideal for every day, occasional exposure, like walking your dog, or driving to work.
  • SPF 30 or higher: Necessary for extended outdoor activities, including distance running, hiking, swimming and outdoor sports. SPF 30 is a must if you work outdoors.
  • Water resistant and very water resistant: For swimming or intense exercise. No sunscreen is waterproof; they all eventually wash off. Sunscreens labeled water resistant are tested to be effective for up to 40 minutes of swimming, while very water resistant sunscreens stay effective for up to 80 minutes in the water.

Where should I apply sunscreen?

  •  At the very least, you should use sunscreen on every part of your body that is exposed to the sun, including those easy-to-miss spots: the tops of your ears, back of your neck, your scalp (on the part line), tops of your feet and behind your knees. Even when it’s cloudy, up to 80 percent of the sun’s UV radiation reaches the earth. Going unprotected on an overcast day can lead to skin damage.

How much sunscreen should I use?

  • To get the full broad-spectrum protection out of your sunscreen, apply one ounce to your entire body.

Word of the day:

Sunscreen (noun)

  1. a cream or lotion rubbed on to the skin to protect it from the sun.
    • Example: She used sunscreen before going to the beach.