Stay Safe in the Sun with These Tips
Whether you love riding bikes, golfing like these UL-sponsored LPGA pros, or other outdoor sports, you’ll want to lather on the sunscreen to help prevent sunburn, early skin aging and skin cancer.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, according
to the American Cancer Society, affecting more
Americans than all other cancers combined. An estimated one in five Americans will develop skin
cancer by age 70.
Protect yourself by wearing sunscreen every day. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, this can halve your risk for melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Choosing a Sunscreen
When selecting sunscreen, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), advises that you pick one that’s:
- Broad spectrum (protects against UVA and UVB rays)
- SPF 30 or higher
- Water resistant
One chemical to avoid in sunscreens is oxybenzone, according to UL’s GoodGuide® app, which rates more than 75,000 consumer products based on safety and health. Oxybenzone has been linked to contact/photocontact sensitivity and hormone disruption. GoodGuide’s scientists also recommend lotion sunscreens instead of spray-on products, as the latter can be dangerous if inhaled.
you get started, you can download the
GoodGuide app and browse sunscreen options. Or, simply check out GoodGuide’s
- MD Solar Sciences Mineral Moisture Defense Body Broad Spectrum SPF 50
- Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunscreen Lotion SPF 60
- Goddess Garden Baby Natural Sunscreen SPF 30
- TruKid Sunny Days Sport
You’ll want to apply sunscreen every two hours when outdoors, even on cloudy days (when up to 80 percent of the sun’s harmful UV rays still can penetrate your skin), and after swimming or sweating, advises the AAD. Apply sunscreen generously – enough to cover all exposed skin, meaning about 1 ounce (enough to fill a shot glass) for an adult. Include the tops of your feet, your neck, your ears and the top of your head. Use a lip balm or lipstick that contains sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher on your lips.
Protect children too. A few blistering sunburns in childhood can double a person’s lifetime chances of developing serious forms of skin cancer, according to the AAD.
Using sunscreen on infants is controversial, with some experts, like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, against it because infants may be more affected by the sunscreen’s chemicals. For infants under 6 months, experts agree that the first line of defense is to keep them out of direct sunlight altogether – by using sunshades/umbrellas, lightweight clothing that covers the arms and legs, bonnets, sunglasses, etc. The American Academy of Pediatrics’ additional recommendation is: If adequate clothing and shade are not available, apply a minimal amount of sunscreen on infants under 6 months to small areas, such as the face and the back of the hands.
Other Sun Safety Tips
Get into the habit of checking the UV Index, advises the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This measures UV exposure on a scale of 0-11, with 11 being the most exposure. When the UV Index is at 3 or above, in addition to wearing sunscreen, the EPA says:
- Limit exposure during 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. when UV exposure is highest.
- Seek shade.
- Wear clothing made from tightly woven fabrics that can help block some of the UV rays. Long-sleeved shirts and pants are recommended.
- Wear a hat with a wide brim that protects the eyes, face and neck.
- Wear sunglasses that provide 100 percent UV protection, as chronic eye exposure to UV radiation increases the incidence of cataract and other eye diseases.
- Watch out for bright surfaces, like sand, water and snow, which reflect UV and increase exposure.
sport you enjoy, be sure to get out there and do it, while staying sun safe by
wearing protective clothing and using sunscreen.