Sunscreen and Sunblock Facts

Check out the new sunscreen guidelines from the FDA.

Why should I use sunscreen for sun protection?

Sun protection products help protect your skin from ultraviolet (UV) rays.

You can’t see UV rays from the sun! There are three types of UV rays:

  • UV-A rays go deep into skin to cause damage like wrinkles, sagging and tanning. UV-A rays pass through window glass. Tanning booths emit primarily UV-A rays.

  • UV-B rays are shorter and stronger. UV-B rays burn the top layers of the skin.

  • UV-C rays are strongest and most dangerous. Luckily, the ozone layer keeps them from reaching earth.

 Choosing and using sun protection products

Look at the SPF 
Sunscreen products contain active ingredients that absorb into your skin to provide sun protection within the skin layers. The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) number on the product label tells you how long the product will protect your skin from burning UVB rays. Use a sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or higher.

Broad spectrum products are best
These products have ingredients that absorb into your skin and block both harmful UV-A and UV-B rays from ever entering your skin.


Use products that contain one of the following to get broad spectrum protection:

  • zinc oxide
  • titanium dioxide
  • avobenzone
  • mexoryl

Is it water resistant?
Sun protection products may be labeled as “water resistant”. Don’t be misled by these labels – reapply sunscreen every 40-80 minutes (depending on the product) when you have been in the water.

Tips for using sun protection products

  • Use one ounce (1 oz.) – about the size of a golf ball – to protect the average adult.
  • Apply products 20-30 minutes before going outside.
  • Don’t forget to apply products to your ears, neck, scalp, hands and feet.
  • Apply a lip balm with SPF to your lips.
  • Reapply products every 2 hours.
  • Don’t forget to protect your eyes. Wear sunglasses with 100 percent protection from UVA/UVB rays.

Click here for tips on how to get the most out of your sunscreen.

Not a big fan of sunsreen, click here for some solutions to the most common sunscreen concerns.