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Don’t Forget the Sunscreen

In a 2012 survey by the Skin Cancer Foundation, more than 25 percent of respondents said they suffer at least one sunburn every year. That stinging redness could all be avoided by applying sunscreen and limiting your exposure to the sun’s rays.

Protect Your SkinFather and daughter swimming in pool
Sunscreen combines several ingredients that help prevent the sun’s ultra-violet (UV) rays from reaching your skin. Two types of UV radiation—UVA and UVB—damage the skin, age it prematurely and increase your risk of skin cancer. UVB is the culprit behind those dreaded sunburns, while UVA penetrates skin more deeply to cause wrinkling, leathering, sagging and other aging effects. Both can contribute to an increased risk in skin cancer.

What the Numbers Mean
We’ve all seen the sunscreen labels…SPF 15, SPF 30, SPF 50, but what does it all mean? The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) rates the effectiveness of a product at screening out the sun’s UV rays, with higher numbers offering more protection. To help consumers understand sunscreen better, the FDA has mandated labeling changes, which went into effect this year. With new labels, understanding sunscreen is becoming easier, and ideally you should be buying and using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF value of 15 or higher.

Apply and Reapply
As a general rule, sunscreen should be generously applied to any skin that will be exposed to the sun. It should be applied about a half hour before going outside to allow time for the sunscreen to soak in and take effect. You then need to reapply every two to three hours and more often if sweating or swimming. Also, limiting your exposure to the sun, especially between peak hours of 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. will help protect your skin.

CONSIDER THESE RESOURCES BEFORE HEADING OUT IN THE SUN

Articles & Blogs:
Summer Sun Smart—Protect Our Kids
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Videos:
How Sunscreen Works
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Websites:
Skin Cancer Foundation
FDA – Information For Consumers