Do You Use Sunscreen Properly?

Sunscreen is a necessary component of daily life for those who live in places with a warm climate or go on holidays to sunny resorts. It is essential for anyone who not only cares for the health of their skin but also tries to minimize the risk of skin cancer. However, despite the importance of sunscreen and its relative prominence the world over, very few people actually understand it or even know how to correctly apply it.

This isn’t an assumption but a conclusion reached by the authors of new research which found that most people do not understand the information they find on sunscreen labels and how it should be used properly. As a result, they are placing themselves at a higher risk of manifesting various skin conditions including cancer.

According to a survey by the American Academy of Dermatology in 2016, only 30% of participants seemed to understand that sunscreen with an SPF 30 label isn’t twice as effective as sunscreen with a SPF 15 label. In fact, more than half of all the respondents didn’t seem to realize that a higher SPF sunscreen didn’t actually provide longer protection from the sun’s rays than sunscreen of a lower SPF.sunburn

Abel Torres, President of the American Academy of Dermatology, believes that more efforts need to be aimed at educating people about sunscreen labels. Facts such as SPF 30 sunscreen boasting the ability to block up to 97% of the sun’s rays as well as the fact that higher SPF sunscreens only block slightly more rays are not well known amongst the public. Abel Torres thinks that more people must be informed that sunscreens of a higher SPF don’t permit people to spend longer periods of time in the sun, at least not without reapplication.

However, the majority of participants knew that sunscreen required reapplication after swimming. None the less, over 700 people among those with a history of nonmelanoma skin cancers who were surveyed revealed that they would periodically suffer from sunburns because they turned to seeking shade and wearing protective clothing instead of using sunscreen to fight the sun’s rays.

According to Anna L. Cien, a board-certified dermatologist and one of the authors of the study, even people with a history of skin cancer do not seem to deploy the most effective sun protection methods. While some people do not use sunscreen at all, others either fail to apply enough of it or simply forget to reapply it as often as required.

It is the American Academy of Dermatology’s hope that people will learn to use more effective methods of sun protection, from wearing protective clothes to using broad-spectrum and even water-resistant sunscreen (SPF 30 and higher).

Do not forget that application must be comprehensive. All exposed skin should be covered. Additionally, sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours. You can never be too careful when it comes to the health of your skin.