- Children six months or younger should be kept out of the sun (rather than using sunscreen on their young skin).
- For children older than 6 months, apply a sunblock with an SPF 30 or higher.
- Older children should use a sunscreen SPF 15 or higher.
- Adults should use at least an SPF 15 sunblock.
UVA: These rays are more constant year-round and penetrate deeper into the skin’s layers. They contribute to burning, premature aging of the skin, and the development of certain forms of skin cancer. Exposure to UVA rays is greatest from May to August, but these rays reach the Earth’s surface 365 days/year.
UVB: These rays are the primary cause of sun burning, premature aging of the skin and the development of skin cancer.
UVC: The ozone layer blocks UVC rays, and they do not reach the earth’s surface.
- “Sunblock” is a term used by manufacturers to describe sunscreens that provide an SPF 12 or higher.
- “Sweatproof, Water-resistant and Waterproof” indicate that the product provides protection after 40 minutes of water exposure, but it is important to reapply immediately after coming out of the water. Reapplication is recommended every two hours during long stints outdoors, after swimming and heavy sweating.
- There are two types of sunscreen: chemical and barrier. Chemical sunscreens contain ingredients that absorb UV light before it can cause skin damage. Whereas, barrier sunscreens create a reflective surface on the skin that reflects the light.
- SPF only indicates the level of protection against UVB, but not UVA rays. Currently, there’s no standard for measuring UVA protection.
- For the best protection against the sun, look for products that offer “Broad-spectrum Protection” against UVA and UVB.
- By comparison, summer clothing typically provides a low SPF between 2 and 7.
- When the UV Index is very low (0-2), it would take about 60 minutes to get a sunburn without sunscreen. Even though that seems like a long time, it is important to use sunscreen, wear sunglasses and use sunscreen of 15 or higher on those days.
- When the UV Index reaches 7-10, grab your hat and glasses, increase the SPF to 30 and stay in the shade, because you can burn in about 15 minutes.
- When in the UV index is 10+, you can burn in less than 10 minutes; do all of the above, plus raise the SPF to 45 and stay out of the sun during peak hours. (
Skin Type – All people should apply sunscreen liberally, evenly and often. The shade of your skin does not matter. People of all races can get sunburn and need to protect their skin. Recent statistics have shown that while those individuals with lighter skin tone have a higher incidence of skin cancer, those with a darker skin tone have a significantly lower survival rate once diagnosed.
Asymmetry (one side doesn’t match the other)
Border irregularity (edges are irregular, ragged or blurred)
Color variation (tans, browns, black, white, reds, blues)
Diameter larger than a pencil eraser (6mm)
Elevation above the skin and uneven surface