There is hardly a place in the U.S. that is not hot and sunny on some days. As summer approaches, more of us will spend time outdoors enjoying backyards, beaches, parks, mountains and swimming pools. Beware the sun and its damages. Health Briefs reviews sun protection information.
Contrary to popular belief, the higher SPF or sun protection factor numbers do not mean the sunscreen or lotion lasts longer in the sun or provides more protection from UVA and UVB rays. In fact, a lotion or sunscreen with an SPF of 30 works just fine, as does one with an SPF of 50. So skip the SPF 100 lotion.
Also, avoid sunscreen and children’s sunscreen that are not made with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These rate better for safety. Adults should read bottle and tube ingredient lists and avoid products with oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate. Eighty percent of sun care products contain these ingredients. One is a hormone disruptor and the other is a form of vitamin A linked to skin cancer.
There are no definitive scientific results on the use of sprays versus lotions. The question is if sprays cover as completely as lotions. One could argue they do if sprayed on well. But it is up to the user.
Health Briefs suggests re-applying sunscreen or lotion every couple of hours. Stay out of the sun in the afternoon hours from 11 AM to 4 PM when the sun is at its hottest. Wear a hat and sunglasses to protect eyes, ears and head. Always use a broad spectrum sun protection product, and get checked by a dermatologist often.