Summer is upon us- the season officially starts June 21- so sunscreen is top of mind. While it should be used year-round to protect our skin from the sun, many of us don’t think about this product much until it’s hot and bright outside.
Sun exposure impacts our skin in many ways. Sunburns are an obvious and painful side effect of too much sun, but sun exposure also causes skin spots, aging, and wrinkles. Worst of all, sun damage can also lead to skin cancer.
Skin cancer is on the rise in the United States, according to the Food & Drug Administration. The two most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, and about 4.3 million people are treated for these each year. The Skin Cancer Foundation estimates that daily use of SPF 15 sunscreen can reduce your risk of squamous cell carcinoma by 40% and melanoma by 50%.
If you plan to be outside during any time of the year, it’s important to use sunscreen, and to use it correctly!
Proper Sunscreen Use
How would you answer this question: “When you go outside on a sunny day, for more than one hour, how often do you use sunscreen?”
A 2020 study found that only 12.3% of men and 29% of women age 18 and older said they always used sunscreen. But, plenty of other surveys online show widely different responses to similar questions. And even if people are using sunscreen every day, it’s likely they aren’t using enough of it or reapplying it frequently enough.
The FDA recommends using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher. For the best protection, you should also:
- Apply sunscreen liberally to any uncovered skin, especially your nose, ears, neck, hands, feet and lips
- Reapply sunscreen every two hours and more frequently if you are swimming
- Don’t forget your head! Wear a hat or apply sunscreen to your head if you don’t have much hair, or along your part
- No sunscreen is fully waterproof
- The average-sized person should use one ounce of sunscreen to fully cover the body- about the size of a shot glass
Remember that no sunscreen fully blocks UV radiation, so whenever possible you should cover your skin with clothing or stay out of the sun.
Types of Sunscreen
Lotions, creams, oils, sticks, sprays- there are so many types of sunscreens available today! To make it even easier to use, many skin care products have incorporated SPF into their formulas.
How do sunscreens work? They contain ingredients that keep the sun’s UV rays from reaching your skin. There are two main types: chemical sunscreens, which absorb UV rays before they can reach your skin, and physical sunscreens, which act as a shield to block and scatter the UV rays.
Both types are effective and have been fully tested; the best sunscreen for you is the one you’ll actually use. It’s a good idea to get in the habit of applying sunscreen as part of your morning routine every day. One easy tip is to use a daily moisturizer that includes SPF.
Don’t Forget to Report Your Purchases
Do you buy sun care products year-round, or primarily in the summer months? Along with sunscreen, sun care products might include after-sun lotions, lip care products and even apparel.
Don’t forget to include these purchases when you report your shopping trips to us! Sometimes sun care products are part of your regular grocery store trips and it’s easy to remember them. But many times, sun care products are purchased on-the-go, either while traveling or when you’re on your way to the pool, lake or beach. Keep track of your receipts, or report the trips right away so you don’t forget them.
What are your favorite sun care products? Let us know in the comments!