Sun Protection and Sunscreens (cont.)

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

Do water or perspiration wash off sunscreen?

Comment on this

Yes. Therefore, sunscreen should be reapplied at least every two hours when staying outdoors for a prolonged period and after swimming, bathing, perspiring heavily, or drying off with a towel or handkerchief. Water- and perspiration-resistant sunscreens are available. However, even their protection will not last indefinitely.

Can sunscreens cause a skin reaction?

PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid) was one of the original UVB-blocking products in sunscreens. Some people developed a skin reaction to this chemical, and it was also found to stain clothing. Over the years, PABA has been refined and modified into newer ingredients known as glycerol PABA, padimate A and padimate O, all of which are UVB-blocking sunscreen ingredients. Other ingredients in sunscreens may also increase the risk of a skin reaction in certain people. Anyone can determine the suitability of a particular sunscreen without risk of serious harm by

  1. clothing his or her body fully except for a small patch of skin; and then
  2. applying the sunscreen to the skin patch and exposing it to sunlight.
  3. If a reaction occurs, the user should not use that product. He or she should try another product.

Should everyone use sunscreen protection?

As a general rule, babies 6 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 kept away from sun exposure.

Everyone over 6 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.


Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Sunscreen - Tips for Reapplying Question: Please share suggestions for reapplying sunscreen, like after swimming or perspiring.
Sunscreen - Sunburn Prevention Question: Please share tips for preventing sunburn.
Sunscreen - Best Types Question: What type or brand of sunscreen do you use? Do you know if it's a broad-spectrum product?
Sunscreen - Sunburns in Winter Question: Have you ever gotten sunburned in winter? Describe what happened and how you will prevent it next time.

STAY INFORMED

Get the Latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!