Living in Texas means sunscreen is a must-have health product for use all year long. For those planning to travel for a tropical vacation, outdoor event, partaking in water sports or open stadium sporting events, be sure to add sunscreen to your packing list. While we all love a glowing sun-bronzed look it’s important to note that tanned skin is damaged skin, so it is absolutely essential that you take measures to protect it.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, but it is also the most preventable because sun exposure is a major factor in its growth. The best line of defense against skin cancer is sunscreen and skin protection.” (CDC 2020)
Facts About Sunscreen
SPF stands for sun protection factor, but it specifically indicates protection against the ultraviolet B (UVB) rays that cause sunburn, and we already know those UVA/UVB rays are going to be changing every year due to environmental changes and the choices we make.
No sunscreen blocks 100 percent of UV rays. And, no matter how high the number, all sunscreen protects for the same amount of time. An 80 SPF sunscreen, for example, does not let someone stay outside longer than a 15 SPF sunscreen but it might block more rays while the person is outside. All sunscreen needs to be reapplied at least every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating.
Ideally, we should say your skin is worth protecting and a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen that provides coverage from both UVA and UVB rays. A minimum SPF of 30 is good to start with. (Bradford 2017)
In case you are stepping out in sun for fun, always remember to apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before and don’t forget those sensitive spots like your ears, the backs of your knees and the tops of your feet. Adding a hat for the day will also give you added protection.
Read Sunscreen Labels
Although UVB rays are the primary cause of sunburn and both UVA + UVB rays contribute to skin cancer. All sunscreens protect against the sun’s UVB rays, but only those that are broad-spectrum also have been shown to also provide sufficient protection against UVA rays to reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. (FDA 2019)
Using Any Type of Sunscreen is Better Than None at All
The sun gives us much needed Vitamin D. It raises our mood and boosts immunity. Summer is truly one of the most beautiful seasons of the year. Wearing sunblock makes sense and taking precautionary measures for activity in the heat will prevent health emergencies such as dehydration and heat stroke. Love the sun but respect its power!
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“Basic Information About Skin Cancer.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 9 Apr. 2020, www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/index.htm
Bradford, Alina. “Facts About Sunscreen and Sun Protection.” LiveScience, Purch, 23 May 2017, www.livescience.com/59219-sunscreen-facts.html
Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Sunscreen: How to Help Protect Your Skin from the Sun.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, www.fda.gov/drugs/understanding-over-counter-medicines/sunscreen-how-help-protect-your-skin-sun?gclid=CjwKCAjwt-L2BRA_EiwAacX32d65HwVdowg6QUM4C5P50G9qt8je60wNX550kn96B1LkU2hHb4gKGxoCVnYQAvD_BwE