We have to admit that the ob/gyns at Health Central Women’s Care Dallas weren’t always sun savvy. Some of our women’s health professionals even recall blistering childhood summers when they reached for suntan lotion (before marketers rebranded it sunblock) or even sun accelerators like tanning blankets, baby lotion and (gulp) cooking oil.
Summer won’t officially begin until June 20th, yet the Texas sun has already cranked up the heat and it’s primetime for damaging sunburns. Protect yourself from skin cancer, melanoma, premature aging of the skin, and heat stroke by testing your summer sun IQ.
True or False?
The higher the SPF, the better the protection.
False. Choose a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher and both UVA and UVB protection. The key to effectiveness is applying 30 minutes before sun exposure, and reapplying every two hours or after swimming or excessive sweating. An SPF of 70 does not mean you can apply once and stay outside 70X as long without burning.
I can just avoid direct sun exposure during the hottest part of the day.
False. UV rays are strongest between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Surprisingly, that’s not always the hottest time of the day.
Last year’s sunscreen won’t protect me this summer.
False. If you stored your sunscreen in a cool place and did not expose it to high temperatures, it’s likely fine. Sunscreen has a three-year shelf life, so be sure to check the expiration date.
Clothes protect me from harmful rays.
True and false. Wet, light-colored clothes don’t protect as well as dry, dark-colored garments. Skin savvy women choose loose-fitting, long-sleeved tops and wide-brimmed hats in tightly woven fabrics. Skin cancers can also form on the eyes, so opt for sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection. You always need to use sunscreen in addition to a secondary method of skin protection.
I need both UVA and UVB protection.
True. UVB causes sunburn, but UVA exposure can result in long-term skin damage and serious cancers.
According to the CDC: “Your best bet to protect your skin is to use sunscreen or wear protective clothing when you’re outside—even when you’re in the shade.”