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article imageMany people are using sunscreen incorrectly

By Tim Sandle     May 22, 2016 in Health
As the northern hemisphere moves into summer, many people are taking advantage of the good weather. It might seem straightforward to slap on sunscreen; however, many people are not using sun-blocking products correctly.
The concerns about the way sunscreen is applied and confusion over the meaning of SPF (or "sun protection factor") has been picked up in a 2016 survey commissioned by the American Academy of Dermatology. The survey revealed that only 32 percent of respondents knew that an SPF 30 sunscreen does not provide twice as much protection as an SPF 15 sunscreen.
In addition, the public poll discovered that just 45 percent of the U.S. population (presuming the results can be extrapolated) were aware that a higher-SPF sunscreen does not protect a person from the sun for any longer than a lower-SPF rated sunscreen.
It also stands that many people are not applying the right amounts of sunscreen across all areas of exposed skin. More encouraging news was that 85 percent of those polled were aware that a sunscreen must be reapplied after swimming. It is less well-known that sunscreen should be applied more regularly by those who sweat excessively.
These pieces of information are supported by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, with research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (“Sunburn and sun-protective behaviors among adults with and without previous nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC): A population-based study.”) The research looked at 34,161 people without skin cancer and 758 people with skin cancer. Here they found there was a correlation with those who had developed nonmelanoma skin cancer and weaknesses with the application of sunscreen.
Commenting on the key findings, Dr. Abel Torres, who is certified by the American Academy of Dermatology, stated: “It’s important that everyone understands what they are seeing on a sunscreen label.”
She went on to explain that a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 blocks up to 97 percent of the sun’s rays. Following this, sunscreens rated with a higher SPF block more rays, but this is not proportional and simply putting on a higher-rated SPF product does mean that someone can spend a longer period of time outdoors. The same goes for reapplying the sunscreen; sunscreens should be reapplied every two hours, irrespective of the SPF rating. Moreover, the sunscreen should be applied 15 minutes before someone goes out in to the sun, with enough applied, for atypical adult, equivalent to one ounce (or the volume of shot glass.)
It also stands, according to Dr. Torres, that seeking shade and wearing protective clothing is not sufficient in terms of sun protection. The use of sunscreen remains important.
More about Sunscreen, Suntan, Suntan lotion, Summer
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