The use of sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 is incredibly important if you are to fight off the risk of getting melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. You see, having 5 or more sunburn incidences doubles your risk of developing melanoma. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, despite decades of warnings, skin cancer continues to be the most common form of cancer in America. The Skin Cancer Foundation estimates that 1 in 5 Americans will have skin cancer by the age of 70. Every hour, more than 2 people die of skin cancer. The importance of using sunscreen is highlighted in a story by US News. In this article, we will discuss some of the highlights of that piece.
For people who spend most of their time outdoors, sunscreen with an SPF above 15 is sufficient for most people. Nevertheless, if you are outdoors when the sun is at its hottest, you should consider using a stronger sunscreen. New Jersey healthcare network, Hackensack Meridian Health believes that a sunscreen that is water and sweat-resistant is especially good for your skin.
When you are shopping for sunscreen, you should check what the SPF is. The SPF number tells you the amount of ultraviolet (UV) radiation it will take to produce sunburn on protected skin relative to the amount of UV radiation it will take to produce sunburn on unprotected skin. The higher the SPF number, the more protection you have. So, for example, if you buy a sunscreen with an SPF of 30, you will be able to withstand 30 times more UV radiation than if you did not have sunscreen. Many people think that the SPF number refers to the amount of sun exposure you can take. In other words, they think that if you get sunscreen with an SPF of 15, you can now spend 15 times more time outdoors. So an hour without protection is worth an hour with protection. This is wrong. The US News piece makes this claim, but as the Food and Drug Administration notes, SPF is all about the “amount of solar exposure”, not the “time of solar exposure”.
A further consideration when buying a sunscreen, you want one that will protect you from UV rays that produce sunburn, and UV rays that age and tan the skin.
Many people dab their sunscreen, as if fearful that it will run out. Even when they use sunscreen, they underuse it. You want to cover your whole body, or at least those parts of your body under direct exposure to the sun. When I say you should cover your body, that includes your ears, your scalp, your neck and feet. Apply generously, even on days when it’s cloudy. A cloudy day is not a day when there are no UV rays.
Many people will be alarmed by this because it means not getting that tan. Unfortunately, a tan is essentially sunburned skin and that is not a good thing. Rather than seeking a tan through sunburn, what you should be doing is getting a spray tan and protecting your skin.