Sunscreen Lotion: 'Don't Just Rely on Sunscreen SPF Levels to Prevent Skin Cancer Signs', Dermatologists SayBy Anita Valencia, UniversityHerald Reporter
Dermatologists suggest applying sunscreen lotion to your body before the UV exposure damage your skin and causes skin cancer. However, researchers also advice us not to concern only on the sunscreen SPF levels.
You need to wear sunscreen lotion daily (and wear it enough)
Apparently, the sun shines everyday and it is not only at the beach that your skin is exposed to the UV rays. According to dermatologists, the skin damage caused by sun exposure is cumulative. It means that when you're walking to the coffee shop or looking through the window during the day - it can also cause skin 'incidental damage'. When you put sunscreen lotion every day, it will give more protection and prevent your skin from premature aging.
To prevent skin cancer signs from appearing, a person has to apply sunscreen lotion to 'every inch of exposed skin'. When applying sunscreen spray, a person has to rub it in after spraying to provide deep coverage.
You need to wear sunscreen lotion 30 minutes before you go out, and don't forget to reapply
It takes 30 minutes for the skin to fully absorb chemical sunscreen lotion regardless the sunscreen SPF levels. And it has to be reapplied every two hours (again, regardless the sunscreen SPF levels). More frequent application needed for those heavily perspired, for instance, runners or cyclists.
Do not rely only on sunscreen SPF level label on your makeup products
Many over-the-counter makeup products provide SPF but experts said that it is not enough especially when people tend to focus on the facial area and not covering the neck and shoulder areas. This means that it does not provide the same amount of coverage on those parts. Moisturizer with SPF is better in providing adequate protection before applying makeup.
The sunscreen SPF levels: should you be concerned?
Sunscreen lotions are often equipped with different variants of SPF levels. Expert from The American Academy of Dermatology suggests wearing sunscreen SPF 15 regularly but Dr. Elizabeth Hale, dermatologist from NYU advices a higher sunscreen SPF level - at least SPF 30. In addition to that, an expert from Skin Cancer Foundation also recommends people Not to go above SPF 50 as the extra protection is considered negligible and may not be effective. For a comparison, SPF 50 blocks 98 percent of UV rays whilst SPF 100 blocks 99 percent.
Procter & Gamble once conducted a sunscreen rating test in five different labs. The company found that sunscreen lotion claimed to have SPF 100 - only had SPF range between 37 and 75, EWG's Guide to Sunscreen shared. Hale also recommends replacing sunscreen lotion every season if it is often exposed to heat. Sunscreen lotion and spray are best kept in cool, dry place to maintain the quality up to two years.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US according to CDC statistics.