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Do’s and Don’ts of Sunscreen Use

Is your skin ready for summer? Although sunscreen is important every day, summer’s a good time for a refresher course on this important skin protecting tool. How well do you know sunscreen? Check out these Do’s and Don’ts for great tips to keep your skin safe this summer and beyond.

Do Wear Sunscreen Every Day

Whether it’s the middle of June or the beginning of January, wear your sunscreen. Sunscreen application should be a daily ritual, just like washing your face. Choosing a moisturizer with a sunscreen built in is great for daily use, but you should wear a higher SPF on days you’ll be spending time in the sun. Do you really need it every day? Yes, you do. A whopping 1 in 3 cancers diagnosed worldwide is a skin cancer, 95% of which are caused by excess sun exposure. Sunscreen is an easy way to cut down your sun exposure and lower your cancer risk (sun damage also leads to premature skin aging). Rain or shine, don’t forget that sunscreen!

Don’t Skimp on the Amount

How much sunscreen do you really need? Probably more than you’ve been applying. You need about a nickel sized dollop for your face alone, more if you’ll be applying to your whole body.

Do Reapply Often

When it comes to sunscreen, once isn’t enough, especially on days where you’ll be in the sun. Reapply every 2 hours, more often if you’re getting wet, drying with a towel, or sweating a lot.

Don’t Forget the Ears

Sunscreen only works where it touches. Make sure you get everywhere. Some hard to remember places that still need sunscreen include the ears, the tops of the feet, the backs of your hands, and the back of your neck.

Do Think About the SPF

What SPF should you choose? Generally SPF 15 is good enough for daily use (use SPF 30 if you have light skin or burn easily), but bump it up higher if you’re planning a day in the sun. SPF (or sun protection factor) is the amount of additional protection you have from the sun. If you typically burn in 10 minutes, an SPF of 15 will give you about 150 minutes of sun protection. An SPF of 30 doubles that for about 300 minutes.

Do Choose the Right Sunscreen for Your Skin

If one type of sunscreen irritates your skin, choose another. You’ve got lots of options. In general there are two basic types of suncreens: physical sunscreens and chemical sunscreens. Physical sunscreens block and reflect the sun’s rays. These can leave a white chalky look on your skin (look for micronized formulations if possible), but may be less irritating for children and those with sensitive skin. Zinc oxide is one good physical sunscreen. Chemical sunscreens protect your skin by absorbing the sun’s rays. Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects from both UVA and UVB rays. If you’re having trouble finding a chemical sunscreen you like, try a physical one. If you don’t like your physical sunscreen, switch to a chemical sunscreen. Don’t give up on sunscreen just because there’s one product you don’t like. Keep trying until you find your favorite.

Have a wonderful, sun-safe summer!

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