Morning Rounds: Sunscreen do’s and don’ts

Norfolk, VA - As the official start of summer becomes near, protecting our skin from the sun is top of mind.  During his morning rounds on News 3 This Morning, Dr. Ryan Light revealed several sun safe habits for the entire family.

"Everyone should use sunscreen every day to avoid premature aging and damage to the skin, which can lead to skin cancer," said Dr. Light.

He broke down the following topics for the best sunscreen practices.

Sun Safe Habits

  • Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM.
  • Do not burn.
  • Avoid tanning and UV tanning beds.
  • Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
  • Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
  • Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
  • Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
  • Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
  • See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.

What type of sunscreen should I use?

  • Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Which SPF level is best?

  • SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is a measure of how long a person can stay in the sun before its UVB rays start to burn the skin.
  • Let’s say with no sunscreen, your skin starts to redden in 20 minutes. An SPF 30 will theoretically allow you to stay in the sun 30 times longer without getting burned.
  •  Another way to look at it is in terms of percentages:
    • SPF 15 filters out approximately 93 percent of all incoming UVB rays.
    • SPF 30 filters out 97 percent of all incoming UVB rays.
    • SPF 50 filters out 98 percent. of all incoming UVB rays.
  • Sunscreens start to lose effectiveness over time, so it’s important to reapply every two hours and after swimming or heavy sweating.
  • The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends always using a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher – SPF 30 or higher for extended stays outdoors.