I love being outside and with summer around the corner, I plan to take advantage of everything the area has to offer. That means I will be spending a lot of time in the sun and, of course, using plenty of sunscreen. I’ve noticed that most people don’t use enough sunscreen on their bodies. Since 1 in 5 of us will be diagnosed with skin cancer in our lives, we need to be serious about when we apply and how much we are using.
Sunscreen needs to be applied liberally, and the amount needed to cover most people is one ounce of sunscreen, or enough to fill a shot glass. Sunscreen also needs to be reapplied at least every two hours, or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
The sun emits UVA and UVB rays and there are always new studies that show how harmful these rays can be. When I am looking for a sunscreen, I always choose one that is a broad spectrum. That means that it protects my skin from both kinds of damaging, cancer causing rays. I also look for sunscreens that are water-resistant for 40 or 80 minutes. While no sunscreen is truly water or sweat proof, those offer the best protection when I am active outside.
Finally, there’s SPF, or the sun protection factor, which measures the protection you have from UVB rays. SPF indicates how long it would take for you to burn. For instance, someone using an SPF 15 sunscreen will take 15 times longer to redden than someone not using sunscreen. Of course, this is a rough estimate that depends on skin type, the amount of sunscreen used, and the intensity of the sun. When shopping for a sunscreen, keep these numbers in mind: SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30 blocks 97%, and SPF 50 blocks 98%. Simply put, an SPF 30 sunscreen only gives you 4% more protection than an SPF 15. That’s why it’s always important to reapply.
We have several great sunscreens here at Hull that are water resistant and offer broad spectrum protection. Get serious about your sun safety and use sunscreen daily. As I mentioned, 1 in 5 of us will develop skin cancer but it is treatable and beatable, as long as it’s detected early.