Summertime means Sunscreen!
Flowers are in full bloom and the sun is shining brightly! What better time to spend time outside with loved ones? Maybe go for a bike ride or picnic? When the weather is nice, the opportunities are endless.
Some of my fondest memories are sitting in the sunshine, absorbing that all-encompassing warmth. There were days where I’d let the sun hug me as long as it could. Some of my bigger regrets, however, were not knowing the rules. I sunbathed during peak hours with low SPF sunscreens and went fake-tanning during the winter months. I didn’t know better, but I do now.
By now you may be thinking, “Ughhhh not again. I’m safe in the sun. Let it be.” We beg you to read this thoroughly. This newsletter can save your life or the life of a loved one. (Believe me, all this research from Dallas News and American Academy of Dermatology has me thinking I can do much better, too.)
Melanoma is one of the most deadly, and yet one of the most preventable, cancers out there.
It takes five years for your skin to fully recover from a sunburn.
The SPF rating is a measure of the time it would take you to sunburn if you were not wearing sunscreen as opposed to the time it would take with sunscreen on.
SPF 30 is NOT twice as good as an SPF 15. An SPF 15 product blocks about 94% of UVB rays; an SPF 30 product blocks 97% of UVB rays; and an SPF 45 product blocks about 98% of rays. There’s never 100% coverage, even if you’re wearing SPF 800!
Lips get sunburned too, get a lip balm with at least SPF 15.
Waterproof sunscreen begins losing effectiveness after 80 minutes (or sooner) in the water. Reapply often.
Snow, sand, and water increase the need for sunscreen because they reflect the sun’s rays.
Even on cloudy days, up to 80% of the sun’s harmful UV rays can penetrate your skin.
Most people only apply 25-50% of the recommended amount of sunscreen; follow the guideline of “one ounce, enough to fill a shot glass”, which dermatologists consider the amount needed to cover the average sized body.
Wear Sunscreen Challenge
Each year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) distributes their Sunscreen Guide, rating the safety and efficacy of 700+ sunscreens and daily moisturizers with SPF. We’ve listed some general tips for purchasing sunscreens.
At the store, choose a “broad-spectrum” sunscreen that protects against UVB and UVA radiation. Avoid sunscreens containing retinyl palmitate or oxybenzone.
If you buy a sunscreen that does not have an expiration date, write the date you bought the sunscreen on the bottle. That way you’ll know when to throw it out (generally after 1-2 years, max).
You should apply sunscreen to your dry skin 15-30 minutes BEFORE going outdoors.
Re-apply sunscreen approximately every two hours or after swimming or sweating heavily.
If you get burnt, drink plenty extra water. A sunburn draws fluid to the skin surface and away from the rest of the body. Drinking extra water prevents dehydration.
If your skin blisters, you have a second-degree sunburn. Allow the blisters to heal untouched. Blisters form to help your skin heal and protect you from infection.
Share the Sunscreen
Take 5 minutes and check EWG’s website to learn how your sunscreen measures up. If you’re now in the market for a new sunscreen, they offer several great recommendations.
Once you learned what’s good for you, and maybe what isn’t, share your knowledge with at least 2 people. Sent them this article and tell them about what you learned. Your words could save their life.
Apply generously, apply evenly, apply often. (And for those who caught the quote I mentioned above, here’s a viewing of an extremely knowledgeable music video, Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen by Baz Luhrmann) Have a happy (and safe) summer!
Photos thanks to EWG.