Sunscreen Tips and Safety Broken Down

Sunscreen Tips and Safety Broken Down

By M.C. Millman 

A bad sunburn has a way of putting a damper on a bright sunny summer day. 

For this reason, sunscreen is a summer must-have. It's important to have sunscreen handy to protect your skin in the short term from sunburns and in the long term from skin cancer.  

Keep in mind sunscreen is also needed on cloudy or cold days. The sun's rays can still reflect off of surfaces like water, snow, and sand. 

Sunscreen should be applied every 2-3 hours on a summer day. This time changes if you are getting wet. In that case, look for waterproof sunscreen, so the protective benefits of the sunscreen don't get washed away. Bottles of waterproof sunscreen will tell you how long they last, but the general rule is to reapply every 40-80 minutes.  

Higher numbers of SPF, which stands for 'sun protection factor', are not as protective or significant as you may have thought. SPF in sunscreen generally ranges from 15 to 100, but experts say all we need is 30 SPF. This level blocks 97% of the harmful rays from the sun. Anything more than 30 SPF doesn't offer much more protection.

Sunburns have a way of sneaking up on us. By the time you feel the burn, it's there to stay for at least the next few days. The best way to prevent the burn from getting worse is to get out of direct sun exposure as fast as possible by finding shade or going indoors. 

To help treat the burn and soothe the skin, apply aloe vera gel or a moisturizer directly to the burn. Cold aloe vera gel is a little bonus to relieve the heat of the burn. You can take a cold bath or apply a cold compress to the affected area for even more relief. 

While the most important thing is ensuring skin protection by wearing sunscreen, some people are more comfortable with physical sunscreens. The active minerals in physical sunscreen, also known as mineral sunscreen, are zinc oxide and titanium oxide. These minerals sit on the skin's surface. The minerals naturally reflect the sun's rays, making them an excellent option for people with sensitive skin but not a good choice for those who require waterproof sun protection. According to the FDA, there is enough information on these minerals to consider them safe and effective. 

Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, contain various chemical ingredients such as avobenzone, oxybenzone, octinoxate, and tinosorb. These ingredients protect the skin by absorbing ultraviolet rays and converting them to heat through a chemical reaction. 

The active ingredients in chemical sunscreens have been shown to absorb into the bloodstream, potentially causing various health issues. The FDA proposed that twelve sunscreen active ingredients, including oxybenzone, undergo more safety and efficacy tests before it makes any determinations about them. 

See the FDA information HERE. For more information on sunscreen safety, check out the EWG's Guide to Sunscreens HERE.

Photo: Flickr

Minyanim at Shomer Shabbos: Re’eh
  • Aug 20 2022
  • |
  • 8:08 PM

New Yorkers Complain about Trash and Rats, While Mayor Adams Fights to Clean Up NYC
  • Aug 19 2022
  • |
  • 11:08 AM

Be in the know

receive BoroPark24’s news & updates on whatsapp

 Start Now