With summer in full swing, it’s important to know the facts about sunscreen. Sunscreen is important in preventing sun burns, and more importantly in preventing the development of melanoma and other skin cancers. Although less common than other skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma, melanoma can become a very serious and dangerous cancer. Direct correlation between sun exposure and melanoma has been found in many studies.

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. As seen on the drugstore shelves, SPF can range from 4 all the way up to 100, and this can make things very confusing. Many consumers are stuck on which SPF is best for them, so now it’s time to raise our SPF I.Q.! Sunscreen has many positive benefits, with little negative outcomes. Getting some sun exposure is great for your daily Vitamin D dosage, but sunscreen can prevent skin from burning when exposed the sun. The sun is vital for our health but too much can be dangerous if specific precautions aren’t taken.

Latest News: FDA Cracks Down on Sunscreen

In hopes of making sunscreen more consumer-friendly, the FDA has cracked down and changed the laws around SPF. This new regulation will make sunscreen bottles easier to read, and understand. No more SPF 100 on the shelves; the FDA claims that a sunscreen with an SPF of 100 is not possible, and is not more effective than using a sunscreen with a lower SPF. The new cap on SPF will stop at 50.

What SPF is best?

The SPF number is correlated with how long one can stay in the sun while still being protected from melanoma and sunburns. Although SPF 100 will keep the user protected for longer, it is recommended by most dermatologists to use a sunscreen that has at least an SPF of 15. So, no need to go out and buy the highest SPF available. You can still have the necessary protection when using a sunscreen with an SPF of 15, 30, or 50.

We all know that sunscreen should be worn when in the sun, but when is the appropriate time to apply your sunscreen? It is important to apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes prior to sun-exposure to make sure you are fully protected. If applied too soon, the sunscreen can rub off, especially when entering a swimming pool or the ocean.

Sunscreen is an important part of summer fun, and should never be forgotten! Remember, even if you’re only out in the sun for a short period of time, make sure to apply sunscreen. It only takes a few minutes, but those few minutes can protect you for a lifetime.




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One Response to How to raise your SPF I.Q. this summer

  1. Mike R says:

    Good article. I have just a couple of comments.

    1) Some stuides have shown that sun exposure is actually negatively correlated to melanoma. My interpretation of this is that it’s not sun exposure which is the problem, it’s acute overexposure. Ie getting small amounts of sun is actually very good for you bc it’s the most efficient way for your body to produce vit d. But getting sunburned is very bad for you, and what I believe leads to skin cancer.

    2) You have to be careful about which sunscreens to use. Some of them have nasty chemicals that may be FDA approved, but I def wouldn’t want on my skin, absorbing into my body. Infrequent use probably makes it ok. But for frequent use, I always advocate natural sunscreens.

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