What you need to know today about when and how to use your sunscreen.
UV exposure, from spending time outdoors and in the sun increase your risk of skin cancer and early aging. To decrease your risk, I recommend daily use of a broad spectrum SPF of 30 and other sun protection measures such as limiting time spent in the sun, and wearing long- sleeved shirts, trousers, a wide brim hat and sunglasses.
Tips for Selection and Proper Use of Sunscreen for you and your family
- Infants under 6 months of age should not be exposed to direct sunlight. Light-weight, long sleeved clothes and hats are best protection, with application of sunscreen only to small areas if needed.
- When picking sunscreen, remember the word “broad-spectrum”
- I recommend an antioxidant, broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen or moisturizer for daily wear and incidental sun exposure. (I will accept the VERY generous use of SPF 15 sunscreen, over no sunscreen use).
- FYI: Most people only apply 25 % to 50% of the recommended dose of sunscreen, resulting on lower UV protection.
- Apply sunscreen daily, generously, liberally and often. Use a “handful” of sunscreen to cover exposed skin areas. Think face front and back of neck, chest, arms, leg and feet.
- Reapply your sunscreen at least every 2 hours. You can and should reapply sooner than 2 hours if you get wet, sweat or you are in areas of intense sun.
- NO sunscreen is “sweat-proof” or “water-proof”
- Be very thorough in your application of your sunscreen. Areas typically missed are ears, nose, scalp, eyelids, back of knees.
- Never store your sunscreen in a car, or leave it direct sunlight. Keep your sunscreen out of excessive heat.
- UV exposure, no matter what source, has the same risks to your skin. Do not use sunlamps or tanning beds
- The Institute of Medicine has eliminated the sun as a source of vitamin D. The IOM has instead recommended daily intake of 600 IU for adults through diet and supplements. Great dietary sources of vitamin D include cod liver oil, sockeye salmon, tuna fish, fortified orange juice, vitamin D fortified milk, yogurt, and mushrooms.
- Use the SunAWARE action steps and: avoid unprotected UV exposure, wear sun protective clothing, apply adequate sunscreen, routinely perform skin self-examinations and educate others.
- There are now great (free) apps that provide current information on UV intensity, along with sun protection measures. These are quite helpful to warn about UV levels, especially on cloudy or cold days. Get one today.
Adapted from Food and Drug Administration. Labeling and effectiveness testing: sunscreen drug products for over-the-counter human use and May 2012 the derm journal
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