How Should You Protect Your Skin From the Sun?
Whether you're having fun in the sun or doing outdoor chores, we all need to keep those harmful ultraviolet rays at bay. But how much do you really know about being safe in the sun? Take this Everwell Challenge to test your sun protection IQ.
1. By now most people know that SPF stands for sun protection factor. But in a sunscreen with an SPF of 15, what does the 15 mean?
2. Which leads us to question two: which of these should you not use to treat a sunburn?
A. Aloe vera
B. Petroleum jelly
3. Which color shirt will give you the most protection from the sun?
4. No one wants a sunburn, but is there a healthy way to a nice bronze glow? True or false: tanning beds are safer than lying out in the sun.
5. What's the average percentage of sun exposure you still get on a cloudy day?
A. 40 percent
B. 80 percent
C. 100 percent
For the right answers, we turned to dermatologist Sandra Read.
1. SPF 15 means you can extend your time outdoors by 15 times the usual time and you are protected from sunburn.
Not only do you have to put in on, you have to put in on correctly. Dr. Read says you need to apply sunscreen twenty minutes before you go outside, smear on a thick layer, and reapply it at least every two hours.
Then you have to look at the labeling--does it say "UVB and UVA protection?"
2. B, petroleum jelly. What a sunburn is, is a first degree burn. If you put petroleum jelly on it, you're actually smothering yourself and increasing your heat and discomfort. So you're looking more for products that would cool you down.
Oatmeal is a very soothing product and aloe vera is soothing and cooling and allows moisturizing and healing.
3. Dark clothing usually reflects the light away from the skin, where light clothing allows the light to penetrate and come through the clothing.
It's similar to how dark curtains block light from coming into your bedroom.
A white t-shirt on a sunny day gives you like a sun protection factor of 5. If you get that t-shirt wet, it's a sun protection factor of 3.
4. That is false. Tanning beds are not safe. They are a form of ultraviolet light. All forms of ultraviolet light, either artificial from tanning salons or natural from the sunlight, will cause skin cancers.
Dermatologists say if you want that sun-kissed look, the only safe tan is one from a can.
5. The answer is B, 80 percent. Ultraviolet A comes down very steadily all during the day. You don't feel the heat, you don't feel the burn, you don't know how much exposure you're getting. So even on a cloudy day you're getting 80% of the radiation that's coming through the clouds.
The sun damages our skin regardless of our complexions, and we need to put on screen even if it's a cloudy day, especially when the kids are outside.
This entry last modified on: February 27, 2013 5:35 PM
About the Video
What does the SPF number in sunscreen mean? Which color shirt will protect you most from the sun? Test your sun protection knowledge with our Everwell Challenge.