Protect Yourself from the Sun: Use the Correct Sunscreen

Posted by: BeneFIT Corporate Wellness
Date: July 3, 2012

Whether we are exposed to the sun when exercising, gardening, vacationing or have a job that requires outside work, it’s important to protect our skin from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, which is the light we cannot see. There are two types of UV light — UVA and UVB. UVA is responsible for deep tissue damage (tanning) including premature skin aging; UVB is responsible for sunburn. Both damage the skin and may increase the risk of skin cancer.

SPF is the time it takes for you to burn (turn red) without protection. Multiply this amount of time by the SPF number to determine how many minutes you can be in the sun with that sunscreen before reapplying. If it takes you 10 minutes to turn red and you are using SPF15, you have 150 minutes before you will need to reapply. Don’t expect sunscreen to last all day.

Look for ingredients of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide for extra protection. Under new FDA regulations (effective June 2012), only products that protect against both UVA rays and UVB rays are permitted to claim “Broad-Spectrum” protection. Is your sunscreen water resistant? If so, it should be stated on the packaging.


  • Dress for protection with a broad brim hat, knit clothing and UV sunglasses.
  • Avoid peak sunlight from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Don’t forget to apply sunscreen on ears, feet and lips. Apply 30 minutes before going into the sun, and use also on cloudy days.

Keep in mind the American Cancer Society slogan “Slip, Slop, Slap” — Slip on a shirt, Slop on sunscreen, and Slap on a hat.

Sunburn & Skin Cancer: The Painful Facts

  • One blistering sunburn in childhood or teen years more than doubles a person’s chances of developing melanoma later in life.
  • A person’s risk for melanoma also doubles if he or she has had five or more sunburns at any age.
  • A recent survey conducted by The Skin Cancer Foundation revealed that 42 percent of people polled get a sunburn at least once a year.
  • Melanoma can arise on any area of the body, regardless of whether or not a sunburn occurred in that location.


Disclaimer: The information presented is for your general knowledge and does not replace the advice of a physician. All medical inquiries regarding your health should be presented to a physician.

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