6 Must-Know Facts About Sunscreen

Dr. Pranay Gandhi    14-04-2022 Consult

Sunscreen is one of the most important tools in the prevention of skin cancer. Learn more about how to choose and correctly use a good sunscreen for you and your family.

Fact #1: Broad Spectrum Sunscreens are Best UV radiation from the sun includes two types of harmful rays:

Ultraviolet A (UVA) Rays: Most common; cause premature aging of the skin (e.g., wrinkles)
Ultraviolet B (UVB) Rays: Most dangerous; cause sunburns
Overexposure to both types of rays can cause skin cancer. Sunscreens labeled as "broad spectrum" help protect against the effects of both UVA and UVB rays.

Fact #2: Aim for a Sunscreen with at Least 30 SPF
A sunscreen's sun protection factor (SPF) indicates how much protection the product offers against UV radiation. Sunscreens with an SPF of at least 30 block 97 percent of the sun's rays.

Fact #3: No Sunscreen is Waterproof or Sweat Proof
Manufacturers can no longer advertise sunscreens as waterproof or sweat proof. Instead, products are now labeled:

Water Resistant: Effective for up to 40 minutes in water
Very Water Resistant: Effective for up to 80 minutes in water
It is recommended reapply sunscreen every two hours, after getting out of the water, or after sweating.

Fact #4: Children Under Six (6) Months Typically Should Not Wear Sunscreen
Infant skin is more sensitive than adult skin. To protect infants younger than six months, it is recommended to keep them in the shade as much as possible; dressing them in protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts, pants, and a wide-brimmed hat; and making sure they stay hydrated. If you are still concerned about sun exposure, ask your pediatrician if he/she recommends sunscreen.

Fact #5: Sunscreen is Only One Tool in Your UV Safety Toolbox
There are many ways to reduce your exposure to UV radiation. It is recommended to combine sunscreen use with wearing protective clothing, staying in the shade when possible, and avoiding outdoor activities when the sun is most intense.

Fact #6: Use "Teaspoon and Shot Glass Rule" to Determine How Much Sunscreen to Apply
Many people do not apply enough screen. The "Teaspoon and Shot Glass Rule" recommends using one teaspoon of sunscreen to cover the face and neck, and enough sunscreen to fill a shot glass - approximately one ounce - to cover all other exposed areas on the body.