Sun safety: Protect you skin this summer
GEHA | July 18, 2022
Are the following statements about sun safety facts or myths?
- Spray sunscreens are just as effective as lotion sunscreens.
- SPF 100 is the best value and most effective in sunscreen protection.
- Ultraviolet (UV) rays can only reach your skin on sunny days.
- UPF clothing offers an SPF of 50
- Sun rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Fact! All broad-spectrum sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher are proven effective in protecting your skin from harmful ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) sun rays and can prevent sunburn. The challenge of spray sunscreen, however, is applying an even and full coat, which can be an easier task with a thicker lotion sunscreen.
Myth! A sunscreen with any higher than SPF 50 only provides a fractionally small increase in UVB protection and can cost almost double. No matter the SPF, it is recommended to reapply sunscreen every two hours. If you are more allergy prone or have more sensitive skin, use a sunscreen with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as the active ingredients for more protection rather than spending extra on a higher SPF.
Myth! UV rays can cut through clouds and reflect off pavement, snow or water. It is important to take the necessary measures to protect your skin throughout the year, no matter the temperature or cloud cover. When UV rays are reflected off any surface, this makes the rays stronger and more harmful, making it more important to wear sunscreen.
Fact! A standard ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) shirt offers an SPF of 50, compared to a standard cotton shirt, which only offers SPF 15. The tighter weave of UPF clothing makes it more difficult for UV rays to penetrate through clothing and impact skin. In addition, UPF clothing is made to be wet, so children and adults can wear it comfortably in the water.
Fact! Avoid sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. as much as possible, as this is when the sun’s rays are the strongest and most harmful. During these hours, stay inside or in the shade and drink plenty of water.
For information on how to protect your skin from harmful sun damage, check out more sun safety tips.
"The importance of sunscreen, sunglasses and protective clothing for adults and children" mayoclinic.org, 21 July, 2021
"Stay safe in the sun by knowing how to protect your skin" mayoclinic.org, 14 May, 2019