Did you know that the SPF number on sunscreen products refers to the amount of time you can stay in the sun and be protected?
For example, SPF 30 allows you to stay in the sun with less risk of sunburn 30 times longer than if you were not wearing sunscreen. It is important to note however, that sunscreen products manufacturers are basing this information on ideal and/or laboratory controlled conditions. In reality, the protection can be much lower due to the fairness of your skin, physical activity that may cause the sunscreen to rub off, water exposure or incorrect application.
Below are some great sunscreen guidelines, brought to you from our Green Cross Pharmacy Team!
Choose the right SPF
SPF 30 allows approximately 3.3% of UVB rays to hit your skin. SPF 50 allows approx. 2% of UVB rays to hit your skin. That doesn’t seem like a big difference but the lower SPF 30 is allowing over 50% more UV radiation onto your skin!
Apply sunscreen correctly
Apply at least 2 tablespoons 30mins before going outside. Reapply it every 2 hours or immediately after swimming or sweating.
Know the UV index
When the UV index is 3 or over you need to protect your skin. Check the UV index on the MET Eireann website. In Ireland the UV index is usually 3 or above from April to September even when it is cloudy.
Remember sunscreen is only one part of being sun smart.
You should also:
- Seek shade
- Wear a wide brimmed hat
- Cover up exposed skin where possible
- Wear UV blocking sunglasses
- Avoid peak sun hours
Protecting Your Children
For children up to 1 year, it is best to keep them in the shade and wear clothing that covers their skin when outdoors.
Children’s skin is very sensitive to UV from the sun. Sunburn during childhood increases the risk of getting skin cancer as an adult. If your child is badly sunburned more than 3 times before the age of 20, they more than double their risk of cancer as an adult.
Protect yourself and your children by being SunSmart as part of your daily routine from April to September when the UV from the sun is strongest.