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Sunscreen 101 – What You Need to Know This Summer

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As we head into the summer months many of us will be spending time outdoors social distancing and soaking up some vitamin D in the sunshine, but it’s also a time where she should be paying a little extra attention to the damage caused by UV (ultraviolet) rays.

With skin cancer being the most common type of cancer in the United States, it’s important to apply sunscreen before heading outdoors, but according to the Skin Cancer Foundation (SCF), not all sunscreen is created equal.

Tips for Daily Sun Protection

For daily protection, the SCF recommends buying a sunscreen that is water-resistant and broad-spectrum with an SPF of at least 15 or higher. They also recommend investing in a pair of UV-blocking sunglasses – and sun-safe clothing such as a wide-brimmed hat and shirts with a built-in SPF if spending a lot of time in the sun.

What Does SPF Actually Mean?

According to the SCF, SPF stands for “Sun Protection Factor” and is an easy way to tell how long it would take for the sun’s rays to burn your skin. For example, an SPF of 45 means it would take approximately 45 minutes longer for your skin to burn than if you didn’t apply any sunscreen.

Different Types of Sunscreen

There are two main types of sunscreen – Chemical sunscreens and Physical sunscreens.

Physical sunscreens contain minerals that reflect the sun’s rays before they are absorbed by your skin.

Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, contain ingredients that absorb UV rays before they can damage the skin.

So which one is best? According to the SCF, both have been tested as safe and effective so it comes down to personal preference. For example, people with sensitive skin may find the ingredients in chemical sunscreens could cause irritation.


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