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Sunscreen: Tips and Myths

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Summer is about to be upon us! May is right around the corner and for many of us (depending on where you live, of course!) the temperature is heating up. In anticipation of getting all that fun in the sun, The Online Drugstore wanted to look at some of our summertime online beauty products. And what better place to start than with sunscreen? We will take a look at some tips and myths regarding this summertime essential.

Myth: You Won’t Get Sunburns on Cloudy Days

You’re preparing for a rejuvenating hike or some much-needed respite reading a book by the poolside when you look outside and see clouds filling the sky. The temperatures are mild and the sun’s rays are hiding. Seems like a decent opportunity to skip the sunscreen, right?

Unfortunately, just because the clouds are preventing it from being particularly sunny out doesn’t mean your skin won’t feel the heat. This is because clouds only absorb a small fraction of the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays. Ultraviolet rays are not detectable in the visible spectrum, so the gray sky can be deceiving. Even if it’s relatively cool out, this doesn’t mean that your skin isn’t absorbing that harsh ultraviolet radiation. To maximally protect your skin, don’t skimp on the sunscreen. It’s a good idea to wear it regardless of the weather. Check out our collection of online beauty products and suncare products to keep your skin safe today.

Tip: Don’t Expose Infants to the Sun’s Rays

Ideally, babies who are younger than six months of age should avoid any exposure to the sun’s rays. Young babies are exceptionally sensitive to the damaging effects of UVA and UVB radiation. The best strategies for keeping babies protected from the damaging radiation of the sun is to keep them in highly shaded areas and to dress them in long-sleeves, hats, and sunglasses. This not only makes them look adorable, but it keeps them safe. And it’s also extremely important to keep them cool and hydrated.

In general, these tips are the way to go for protecting infants from the sun. Sunscreen is not recommended for children at this age. However, once children are six months or older, then it is a good idea to use a water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, such as Coppertone Kids Tear-Free Sunscreen Lotion.

Myth: Higher SPF Is Always Better

What do you do if you want to avoid 100% of all the sun’s UV radiation? Well, the short answer is to stay indoors, preferably in a basement. If you are outside, however, there is no way to completely avoid our local star’s ultraviolet reach. Even the strongest sunscreens — some with an SPF higher than 100 — fail to protect against all UVA and UVB rays. This can be confusing since it is often assumed that an SPF of 100 would mean that it’s 100% effective. But not so fast. While SPF does stand for “sun protective factor,” this does not mean that a higher number is always better.

A sunscreen with an SPF of 50 will protect against 98 percent of UVA and UVB radiation, while an SPF of 100 protects against 99 percent. This means that SPF 100 sunscreens are not doubly effective as SPF 50; rather — they offer a 1% increase in protection. This also means that any sunscreens with an SPF above 50 only offers a nominal increase in skin protection.

This is a quick breakdown of the effectiveness of various SPF ratings:

  • SPF 15: 94%
  • SPF 30: 97%
  • SPF 50: 98%
  • SPF 75: 98.5%
  • SPF 100: 99%

You can shop our online beauty products for a great selection of sunscreens with a range of SPF ratings. Just keep in mind that rather than focusing on maximizing the SPF, the key to protecting your skin is effective sunscreen habits, including frequency of application. A higher SPF does not mean that it will last longer throughout the day. Indeed, there is some indication that higher SPF sunscreens actually lead to people misusing and misapplying the product under the false presumption that the stronger SPF can act as a panacea for all your suncare needs. This has even led the FDA to consider capping SPF at “50+” so as not to mislead the consumer. Regardless of the number on the bottle, if you plan on basking in that summery heat for a good chunk of your day, then be sure to prepare for multiple sunscreen applications. Speaking of healthy sunscreen habits ...

Tip: Be Sure to Properly Apply Sunscreen

So, you’ve been relaxing by the poolside in the summer heat reading your favorite Toni Morrison novel, and it’s been a few hours since you’ve last applied sunscreen. Are you due for another application? How do you know?

It turns out that it’s very common to under-apply sunscreen. Most people use only 25–50% of the recommended amount of sunscreen. Moreover, it is far too common to leave major areas of the body exposed to those harmful rays. Proper sunscreen application can, of course, vary due to your personal needs and the nature of your daily activities, but here are some general strategies for optimal sunscreen use:

  • Cover all exposed skin. The typical adult needs about one ounce of sunscreen to cover their body. That extra shot glass of tequila that goes in your poolside margarita? That’s about one ounce.
  • Give sunscreen some time before venturing into the daylight. Usually, 15 to 20 minutes before you head outdoors is a good time to apply that sunscreen.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or possibly more depending on your level of activity.
  • Don’t forget the lips. Use a lip balm with SPF protection, as skin cancer can also form on the lips. You can shop our online beauty products for a good selection, including EOS Active Protection Lip Balm with an SPF of 30.

The summer is so much more enjoyable when healthy and protected. It’s important to take appropriate precautions in order to make most of the good weather. The Online Drugstore has a fantastic selection of online beauty products for all of your suncare needs. Shop with us today to make your summer great!