Figuring out sunscreen protection takes some mathWritten by Kyle Reynolds | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Deborah Thaler of Dermatological Surgery and Laser Center in Sylvania, recommends using sunscreen with SPF 30 because it blocks almost all rays.
“It offers protection against over 99 percent of rays,” Thaler said.
SPF levels can go as high as 60, but anything more than 30 doesn’t offer much more protection, she said.
“With 30 you are really protecting yourself; you can’t get much higher than over 99 percent,” Thaler said.
SPF stands for sun protection factor, and there is a formula to calculate how long sunscreen will protect, Thaler said.
The formula takes the amount of time in the sun it takes for you to burn without sunscreen and multiplies it by your sunscreen’s SPF level.
“For a fair skin person it may take 10 minutes in the sun to turn red, but if they are using an SPF 15 then it should take 150 minutes in the sun before they turn red,” Thaler said.
Thaler recommends wearing sunscreen whenever outside and reapplying sunscreen every two or three hours when swimming or sweating.
She said waterproof sunscreen is not truly effective and will just wash off in the pool, so it needs to be reapplied.
Thaler also urges people to use broad-spectrum sunscreen because it blocks UVA and UVB rays, while most sunscreens offer protection from UVB rays only. UVB rays can cause sunburn, and UVA rays can cause wrinkling and leathery skin.
Not using sunscreen puts people at a greater chance for getting skin cancer, Thaler said. For those who want to get a tan, she recommends getting a spray tan or using sunless self-tanning lotions.
“There is no safe burn and no safe tan,” Thaler said.
Tips for protection:
•Wear SPF 30 or higher
•Reapply sunscreen every two or three hours when swimming or sweating
•Reapply sunscreen after your SPF protection has worn off
•Purchase broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect against UVA and UVB rays
•Get a spray tan or use sunless self-tanning lotions.