The Facts about Sunscreen


ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — One person dies of melanoma every hour, which makes sunscreen application more important than ever. UVA and UVB are the two types of ultra violet radiation from the sun that damage and age the skin, and increase your risk of skin cancer. Sunscreen helps keep you safe, but a higher SPF doesn’t necessarily mean more protection. So which should you use?

SPF is a measure of a sunscreen’s ability to protect your skin from UVB rays. The skin cancer foundation breaks it down. They say if it takes 20 minutes for your skin to start turning red, using an SPF 15 sunscreen would prevent reddening 15 times longer, or about five hours. Or take a look in percentages … SPF 15 blocks out 93 percent of UVB rays, SPF 30 blocks 97 percent and SPF 50 keeps 98 percent out. But no sunscreen blocks out all the sun’s rays.

However, SPF’s higher than 50 can mislead consumers. One expert suggests using an SPF no lower than 30 but no higher than 50.

Although you may not be pink in the face, you could still be damaging your skin. UVB rays are the main cause of sunburn, but UVA rays cause aging and skin cancer. Be sure to use a broad spectrum sunscreen, that way you’re protected against UVA and UVB rays.

Another problem is not applying enough sunscreen which is lessening the SPF factor. You should apply one ounce, which is about the equivalent of a shot glass.

Experts also warn about mineral-only sunscreens. A recent study found that only 26 percent of these products met their SPF claim. Experts also say no matter what the SPF is you should always re-apply at least every two hours and about 15 minutes before going into the sun.

Contributors to this news report include: Brogan Morris, Producer; Tony D’Astoli, Editor and Videographer.