- Antiaging Tips & Secrets to Look Younger Slideshow
- Take the Sun Safety Quiz!
- Skin Quiz: Test Your Skin IQ
- Sun Safety FAQs
- Patient Comments: Sunscreen - Best Types
- Find a local Dermatologist in your town
- What is sun protection?
- What are the best ways to prevent a sunburn?
- What is sunscreen?
- What is meant by SPF?
- Are all sunscreens equally effective against UV radiation?
- How do sunscreens work, and which sunscreen ingredients protect against both types of UV radiation?
- How should skin sunscreens be applied?
- Do water or perspiration wash off sunscreen? How long does sunscreen last?
- Can sunscreens cause a skin reaction?
- Should everyone use sunscreen protection?
- Can the labels on sunscreen products be trusted in the U.S.?
- What's the difference between sunscreen and sunblock?
- Do all tanning products contain sunscreens?
- What kind of sunglasses offer protection against UV rays?
- Is sunscreen protection necessary in the winter?
- Are a good sunscreen and sunglasses enough?
- Do sunscreens expire?
Quick GuideSun-Damaged Skin: Pictures of Sun Spots, Wrinkles, Sunburns
How should skin sunscreens be applied?
It's a good general rule to apply a sunscreen very liberally. Those who skimp won't receive full protection. Most people do not use enough sunscreen and do not apply frequently enough. The sunscreen should be applied about a half hour before going outside to allow time for the sunscreen to soak in and take effect. If you're not sure, it's better to over-apply than to apply too little. There is no damage or danger associated with using too much sunscreen.
Many women use foundation makeup that contains sunscreen. However, this should be used as an extra layer of protection rather than the only source of sunscreen, because the amount of makeup that is needed usually is far below the amount that would be needed for effective sun protection.
Applying sunscreen only on sunny days or when it is hot is a common mistake. While the sun may be stronger in summer, UV rays can penetrate clouds and fog and can cause damage even when the sun isn't bright.
Do water or perspiration wash off sunscreen? How long does sunscreen last?
Yes, water and perspiration can wash off sunscreen. Sunscreens must be reapplied frequently. 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, and they should be reapplied frequently, as well.
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
- clothing his or her body fully except for a small patch of skin; and then
- applying the sunscreen to the skin patch and exposing it to sunlight.
- If a reaction occurs, the user should not use that product. He or she should try another product.