Wylie ER is here to break down the terminology of sunscreen for you, so that you can make the best choices for your family’s sun safety.

What’s on the Label

  • SPF: These three letters appear on every sunscreen bottle, but what do they mean? SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and it refers to how well a sunscreen can block UVB rays. The lowest SPF you should apply 30 when you’re outdoors, but applying SPF 50 or higher is ideal.
  • UVA Rays: These are the ultraviolet rays from the sun which are absorbed deep within the skin cells. They don’t cause sunburn as quickly but can contribute to skin aging and wrinkling.
  • UVB Rays: These are the ultraviolet rays from the sun which tend to cause sunburns and more superficial damage to the skin. This is what SPF guards against.
  • Broad Spectrum: This term is often used on sunscreen bottles and should be your preferred kind of sunscreen. Broad spectrum means that the sun screen has ingredients in it which will guard against both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Waterproof: This is a term which, rather obviously, means that a sunscreen won’t come off in water. The only problem is, this term isn’t correct. The FDA has banned the term ‘waterproof’ because all sunscreen will fade and wear off when exposed to water, certain kinds will just fade very gradually. Instead, look for terms like “Water Resistant,” which is the FDA’s preferred label for sunscreens which can stand up to the pool and beach.
Even with all of these terms under your belt, there are still a few important tips to keep in mind for using sunscreen.

How to Apply

If you have the right sunscreen, you still need to make sure you are using it properly. Lots of people remember to put on sunscreen before they head out to the pool, but many will still end up with bad sunburns when they come inside. Follow these easy tips to keep your skin healthy.
  • 1oz Rule: When applying your sunscreen, make sure you use at least 1 ounce to cover adults and large children. This is usually about enough sunscreen to fill the palm of your hand. If you need more to make sure all of your exposed skin is well covered, then use it! More sunscreen won’t hurt.
  • 2 Hours: If you or your child are not sweating or in the water, then re-apply sunscreen every 2 hours. This will ensure that you are protected. In the case of sweating and water activities, you’ll want to reapply more often, depending on how wet you are. You might want to reapply sunscreen every hour, if it is a hot day and you’re spending a lot of time swimming.
  • Lotion: Sunscreen spray might be easier and faster to apply, but it makes it easy to miss places when you are applying. Sunscreen lotions are recommended, as they are the best way to ensure even, thorough coverage.
  • Bug Spray: Some products out there advertise themselves as being sunscreen and bug repellent all-in-one, but those are not a good idea. You need to reapply sunscreen every two hours or less, but you should not be reapplying bug spray that often. It can be bad for your skin to apply more and more bug repellent chemicals that often, so it is recommended that you buy sunscreen and bug spray as separate products.
Knowing what’s on the bottle and knowing how to properly apply your sunscreen are two guaranteed ways to keep you and your family in good health this summer. Take care of your skin, so you can lower the chances of skin cancer.
This blog is written by Marian Flores, staff member at Nutex Health.Nutex Health, Inc supports you and your family’s health. You can depend on Wylie Emergency Room or any one of our concierge-level, freestanding emergency facilities to deliver the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.]]>


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