5 Tips for Choosing and Using the Right Sunscreen

June 8, 2015 | Crandall & Pera Law
5 Tips for Choosing and Using the Right Sunscreen

With the start of the summer approaching, we will all be spending a lot more time out of the house and in the sunlight. That means it is time to head to the pharmacy and facedown the confusion of picking up some sunscreen. With all of the choices of brands, and the varying SPFs and price points, sometimes you narrow your choice by which one has the best price and smells the best. But how do you know if it is effective?

An article by Consumer Reports outlines exactly what to look for, and narrows down their Top 15 choices. They recommend sunscreens which:

  1. Have an SPF 30 (but be wary of numbers that are too high). The FDA warns that any product claiming an SPF over 50 is "inherently misleading,” so choosing a product off the rack without doing your research first can hurt you. Still, you do not want a sunscreen which is too weak, either. Look into sunscreens with an SPF of 30 to start.

  2. Block 97% or more of UVB rays. UVB is the Ultraviolet B spectrum of sunlight that causes redness in the skin and sunburn. The sun's UVB rays are higher in the summertime between 10am and 4pm, and they tend to damage the outer layers of the skin. Choose a sunscreen that provides sufficient UVB protection.

  3. Provide broad spectrum coverage. UVA rays are always present in daylight all year round, and exposure to UVA rays accelerates the aging process. Those rays penetrate to deeper layers of the skin than the UVB rays. Exposure to UVA raises melanoma risk and can suppress the immune system. Broad spectrum sunscreen protects the skin from both UVA and UVB.

  4. Are applied and re-applied every two hours when you are in the sun. The best sunscreen is the sunscreen that you actually use. Apply sunscreen after you dry off from taking a shower, and let it dry for 10 to 15 minutes before getting dressed to lessen the risk of staining your clothing. Re-apply sunscreen after two hours regardless of whether you see any redness, but also consider finding shade for a while to give your skin a break from the sun.

  5. Are used in a ratio of 1 teaspoon per body part. Apply sunscreen liberally, using about one teaspoon per body part. Make sure you apply sunscreen to the inside of the arms and legs, the back of the neck and the tops of the feet.

A good sunscreen is the first preventative step to keeping yourself safe when outdoors. A serious sunburn is just as dangerous any other kind of burn, and in some cases could land you or your children in the hospital. Excessive exposure to the sun can also cause melanoma, a treatable yet still potentially deadly cancer.

We want everyone to stay safe and healthy this summer. If you do sustain an injury, we invite you to contact Crandall & Pera Law to schedule a consultation at one of our offices in Ohio or Kentucky.