5 Surprising Lessons You Probably Didn’t Know About Sunscreen

Photo credit: iStock Aired June 01, 2015

by Lisa Lozano

Now’s the time of year when everyone is stopping in the sunscreen aisle and trying to figure out which choice is best for them. Dr. Ian K. Smith is taking you to sunscreen school to help you maximize sun protection for you and your family.

Lesson 1: SPF Explained

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and Dr. Ian says of the SPF rating number, “When you see a 5, a 15 or a 30, it’s how much longer you can stay in the sun with [the product on], than if you had not [been wearing sunscreen]. It’s a comparison.”

So, if you wore an SPF 50, Dr. Ian explains that you could stay in the sun “50 times longer than if you hadn’t worn any [sunscreen].”

Lesson 2: How Sunscreen Works

Dr. Ian explains that UVA and UVB light are two types of light we need to be worried about. Without sunscreen, UVB can penetrate to the first layer of skin, while UVA can go deeper, to the second layer. With broad-spectrum sunscreen, the light is reflected off the surface.

Lesson 3: Wear SPF 30 or Higher

Dr. Ian suggests an SPF rating of 30 or higher to get the most protection.

Lesson 4: When to Reapply

Dr. Ian recommends re-applying your sunscreen every 40 minutes or so if you’ll be going in the water or sweating profusely. If you’re not planning on getting wet, you can wait longer, between one-and-a-half to two hours, he says.

Lesson 5: Put Two Layers On

Dr. Ian suggests adding two layers of sunscreen to your skin for more protection.

So now that you’re armed with this information, go out and have fun in the sun – safely! Watch the video below for more.

Dr. Ian Schools Us in Sun Safety

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