Test Your Sunscreen IQ

Sun damage is no picnic in the park. Take our quiz to test your sunscreen IQ.

  1. When should you apply sunscreen?
    1. 10 minutes prior to sun exposure
    2. Anytime, as long as you apply sunscreen
    3. 5 minutes before you leave the house
    4. 30 minutes prior to sun exposure


  2. All sunscreens are equally effective against UV radiation. True or False


  3. Everyone should wear sunscreen, regardless of age. True or False


  4. First-Aid measures for a severe sunburn are:
    1. Drink lots of cold water
    2. Apply a compress of cold water
    3. Seek professional medical help as soon as possible
    4. All of the above


  5. Which of the following medications and products can increase the skin's sensitivity to the sun?
    1. Antidepressants
    2. St. John's Wort
    3. Birth control pills
    4. Painkillers
    5. Antihistamines
    6. All of the above


  6. Which of the following sunglasses provide the best protection from the harmful UV rays?
    1. Sunglasses with black lenses
    2. Sunglasses with black or dark brown lenses
    3. Sunglasses labeled 100% UV protection
    4. Sunglasses that look "cool"


1.When should you apply sunscreen? D. 30 minutes prior to sun exposure to allow time for the sunscreen to soak in and take effect.


2. All sunscreens are equally effective against UV radiation. False. Some sunscreens protect against only one type of ultraviolet radiation; ultraviolet-B (UV-B). Others protect against both types of ultraviolet radiation that reach earth's atmosphere from the sun; Ultraviolet-B and ultraviolet-A (UV-A). Sunscreens that protect against both UV-A and UV-B, and are thus classified as "broad spectrum," are the best choice.


3. Everyone should wear sunscreen, regardless of age. False. As a general rule, babies six months of age or younger should not have sunscreen applied to their skin because their bodies may not be capable of tolerating the chemicals in sunscreens. Instead, they should be clothed and shaded. Everyone over six months of age should use a sunscreen regularly unless they and their doctors decide it would be better to protect the skin in other ways.


4. First-Aid measures for a mild or moderate sunburn are: C. Seek professional medical help as soon as possible. In severe cases of sunburn, the victim may experience fever, nausea, chills, dizziness, rapid pulse, rapid breathing, shock, and loss of consciousness. Obviously, such symptoms require emergency treatment. While awaiting treatment, he or she should not drink cold water, which can trigger chills. If compresses are applied, they should be dipped in cool or tepid water, not cold water.


5. Which of the following medications and products can increase the skin's sensitivity to the sun? F. All of the above. For a list of medications and products that may cause a reaction to sun exposure, please read the MedicineNet.com article, Sunburn and Sun Sensitizing Drugs.


6. Which of the following sunglasses provide the best protection from the harmful UV rays? C. Sunglasses labeled 100% UV protection. Frequent overexposure to ultraviolet rays can increase the risk of developing eye cataracts and macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness. For helpful information about how to choose a pair of sunglasses for you or a loved one, read our MedicineNet.com article, Tips For Choosing The Right Sunglasses.


For additional information, please visit the following MedicineNet.com areas:


Last Editorial Review: 5/15/2002



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