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Now that the sun is back for summer, you’re probably thinking of getting your tan on. Make sure you’ve got your sunscreen on too – and not just for the reasons you think. Here are 9 things you didn’t know about your sunscreen.
1. SPF = SUN PROTECTION FACTOR
2. THE DIFFERENCE IN SPF IS MINIMAL
The difference between an SPF 15 and an SPF 50 isn’t that big. According to researchers, SPF 15 is about 92% effective in blocking UVB, compared to 98% for SPF 50. The American Academy of Dermatology, meantime, recommends at least an SPF 30. However, don’t think you can just stick to a low number because…
3. YOU’RE UNDER APPLYING
You may think the movies over-exaggerate that slathered-on sunscreen look, but according to doctors, it’s not a bad example to follow. Doctors say most people under-apply their sunscreen, and on average, they are using less than half of what they need. So if you use an SPF 15 and under-apply, it’s like you’re only wearing SPF 7 or 8.
4. KNOW YOUR LINGO
5. A BASE TAN DOESN’T HELP YOUR SUNSCREEN
6. YOU STILL NEED SUNSCREEN ON CLOUDY DAYS
We all lather up when it’s 90 degrees and scorching overhead, but it’s important to wear sunscreen on overcast days as well. Dermatologists say those aging UVA rays are consistent throughout the day, no matter what the sun condition. And clouds can be deceiving: because they block out the sun, you don’t feel as hot, but that doesn’t mean those harmful UV rays aren’t still there.
Here’s a fun fact: you know how water reflects the sun, so you’re more likely to tan when you’re swimming? Well, it turns out sand reflects 17% of UV radiation too. In other words, you still need to wear sunscreen even if you’re relaxing under an umbrella on the beach.
7. SUNSCREEN KEEPS YOU LOOKING YOUNG
8. YOU’RE NOT ALLERGIC TO YOUR SUNSCREEN
9. SUNSCREEN DOESN’T LET YOU STAY OUT IN THE SUN
At the end of the day, while a broad spectrum sunscreen will protect you against sunburns, it will not completely protect you from all of the sun’s damaging rays. No sunscreen can block out everything. Do yourself – and your skin – a favor, and head indoors for a respite every two hours. Then make sure you re-apply before you step out again.