Archive for Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Five questions: Time for sunscreen

June 18, 2013

The official start of summer is a few days away, but the summer weather has been upon us for a few weeks already. Here are some tips from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s website,

Q: How strong of sunscreen should people use when heading outside?

A: Use sunscreens with SPF values of 15 or higher regularly and as directed. Sunscreen products with SPF values from 2-14 will be labeled with this: “Skin Cancer/Skin Aging Alert: Spending time in the sun increases your risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. This product has been shown only to help prevent sunburn, not skin cancer or early skin aging.”

Q: How often should I apply sunscreen?

A: Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours, more often if you’re sweating or jumping in and out of the water.

Q: How do I know whether waterproof sunscreen products actually do the job?

A: Water resistance claims on the product’s front label must tell how much time a user can expect to get the declared SPF level of protection while swimming or sweating. Two times will be permitted on labels: 40 or 80 minutes.

Q: Are there other ways to protect my skin while outside?

A: Wear clothing to cover skin exposed to the sun, such as long-sleeved shirts, pants, sunglasses, and broad-brimmed hats. The sun’s rays are most intense between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Q: Should sunscreen be applied to an infant younger than 6 months?

A: Generally not. Babies’ skin is much thinner than that of adults, and it absorbs the active, chemical ingredients in sunscreen more easily. This can lead to inflammation or allergic reactions. The best protection is to keep babies in the shade.


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