Soaking up the sun is one of those joys in life that is undeniable! Unfortunately, enjoying a beautiful sunny day can carry some skin risk, so it is important to be a safe sun worshipper. The good news is that today’s sunscreens and chic beach hats make it a pleasure to protect yourself from the sun. Read on for sun safety tips to keep in mind before heading outside on a sunny day.
What is SPF?
SPF stands for sun protection factor. SPF numbers usually range from 2-50. How much and how long you are able to stay in the sun without burning is related to this number. For example, with a product with an SPF of 15, a person can stay in the sun longer 15 times longer before burning. However, the protection factor is not always exact, and it’s important to keep in mind that sunscreen must be applied correctly and often enough to work correctly. Don’t forget to cover all exposed skin with sunscreen and make sure it is evenly applied, and remember to re-apply often, especially if you are in the water.
What is the difference between sunblock and sunscreen?
In very basic terms, sunblock blocks out more rays of the sun than sunscreen. If you are going to be exposed to direct sunlight for a prolonged time, if you are going to be in or on the water, or if you are especially prone to burning, then you will want to choose a sunblock. However, many sunscreen and sunblocks on the market today are high-performance while still containing good-for-your-skin ingredients.
Is waterproof different than water-resistant?
A product is deemed "water-resistant" if it maintains the same SPF level after 40 minutes of being exposed to water; the label "waterproof" means that a product maintains its SPF level following 80 minutes of water exposure. If you are planning on being in the water, or even perspiring often, you should choose waterproof.
How often should you apply sunblock?
Many people apply sunscreen as soon as they are exposed to the sun. However, it’s important to apply 30 minutes before heading out so it has a chance to begin working after the skin absorbs the sunscreen. Remember to re-apply often—every 40 minutes for water-resistant or regular sunscreen, and every 80 minutes for waterproof sunscreen.
There are other ways to protect yourself from the sun. Wear a sun hat, or relax under the shade of an umbrella or cabana. If you are especially fair or sensitive to the sun, you may want to limit your exposure to sun all together, or avoid peak times of the day—which are usually between 10:00 and 2:00 p.m.