Sunscreen FAQs

Sunscreen is an important part of protecting our skin. We all need protection from the sun’s radiation. By understanding what sunscreen is and how it works, you can better protect yourself this summer!


How does sunscreen work?


Think of your sunscreen as a beach umbrella. No sunscreen completely blocks UV rays, but by using the right product in combination with other measures, such as wearing protective clothing, you can protect your skin. For greater protection, sunscreen should have at least a 15 SPF and “broad spectrum” on the label. What is broad spectrum? Only sunscreens that pass the FDA’s Broad Spectrum test (providing proportional protection against UVA and UVB rays) may be labeled as “Broad Spectrum.”


How long does sunscreen last?


Sunscreen lasts an average of two hours. That means you should plan to reapply every two hours. However, if you sweat a lot, notice your skin burning, or spend a lot of time in the water after you have applied your sunscreen, you’ll want to apply more frequently than every two hours.


What is SPF and what does it do?


SPF stands for sun protection factor. When used in sunscreen, SPF helps to block your skin from the sun’s radiation. What are the types of radiation you are exposed to when you are out in the sun? The sun emits two types of radiation: UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays contribute to the signs of aging in the skin, like wrinkles and sagging. UVB rays are more carcinogenic and often responsible for sunburns.


Do Babies Need Sunscreen?


Babies’ skin is very sensitive and can sunburn easily so it is best to  keep them out of the sun as much as possible. However, once a baby starts moving, this becomes much more difficult!  Use the sun protection system once your baby is walking around. Patch test an untried sunscreen on your baby’s skin twenty four hours before applying it widely. This is the best way to check that there is no reaction. Once you have done that and there appears to be no reaction, you can safely apply sunscreen to your baby.


Before you head out into the sun this summer, make sure you understand how to best protect your skin. Understand what to look for in a sunscreen, what level of protection your skin needs and how often to apply. With this knowledge, you can hopefully avoid a dreaded sunburn this year!


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