Are You Sunscreen Smart?
That suntan may look great, but a tan actually means that the sun's invisible ultraviolet (UV) rays have damaged your skin cells. 2 types of UV rays reach the earth:
- UVA rays, which can cause wrinkles and age spots.
- UVB rays, which can make exposed skin burn.
Think A for "age" and B for "burn."
This damage is more than skin-deep. Both types of UV rays can contribute to skin cancer. Cases of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, more than doubled among young women between 1973 and 2004.
You can do a lot to protect your skin. First of all, be sun smart:
- Stay in the shade between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Keep your skin covered and wear a wide-brimmed hat when it's sunny.
Second, choose a good sunscreen and apply it every day, 15 to 30 minutes before going out. When choosing sunscreen, look for the following:
- An SPF of 15 or higher. The SPF, or sun protection factor, tells you how well the sunscreen protects your skin from burning UVB rays. The higher the SPF, the more UVB protection.
- Broad-spectrum coverage. Look for this label to ensure your skin is protected against damaging UVA and UVB light. The Food and Drug Administration is currently considering adding star ratings, from 1 to 4, to rate a sunscreen's UVA protection. That change should make it even easier to choose your sunscreen.
- Water resistance. With this label, you'll stay protected even while you swim or sweat. But remember to reapply after 40 minutes in the water or after towel drying.
Source: Krames Staywell