Sun protection is simply guarding the body from the adverse effects of sunlight. Aside from the hazards of heat, the sun poses the danger of sunburn which can permanently damage the skin and cause skin cancer, premature wrinkling and rapid aging. The best ways to avoid sunburn are to limit time in the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.; wear protective clothing including a hat and use a sunscreen to minimize exposure. Tightly woven, bright or dark colored clothes are best at protecting your skin. Pastels, bleached cottons and whites let in the most UV radiation. Clothing with a high Ultraviolet Protection factor (UPF) provides added protection. For example, a shirt with a UPF of 50 will let in just 1/50th of the sun’s UV radiation.
What is sunscreen?
Sunscreen is any substance or material that protects the skin from UV radiation. When purchasing, you want a “broad-spectrum” sunscreen which protects from both UVA and UVB rays.
What is meant by SPF?
SPF, an abbreviation for sun-protection factor and is a number such as 15, 30 and 50 or even higher that indicates the degree of sunburn protection provided by the sunscreen.
It’s a good rule to apply a sunscreen very liberally and should be applied 30 minutes prior to going outdoors. Sunscreen needs to soak in to take effect. Sunscreen should also be applied last to the face since most will break down in the presence of foundations and moisturizers. Further, sunscreen must be reapplied every two hours when staying outdoors for a prolonged period of time. People with sensitive skin who burn quickly and must spend a lot of time outdoors should always apply a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
Does water or perspiration wash off sunscreen?
Yes. Therefore, sunscreen should be reapplied at least every two hours when staying outdoors for a prolonged period and absolutely reapplied after swimming, bathing, perspiring heavily, or drying off with a towel. Water- and perspiration-resistant sunscreens are available. However, even their protection will not last indefinitely.