Summer Sun Safety Begins With Lots Of Sunscreen
Posted June 23, 2003 11:25 a.m. EDT
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, N.C. — Summer officially begins June 21. Many people will be heading to the beach this season, but health experts say many are making mistakes when it comes to sun protection.
Many people think if sun block reads sun-protection factor 15 or 30, then that is how much protection they are getting. It does not protect skin well if there is not enough applied.
Ginger Wilson and her family go to the beach several times a week. They said they always wear sunscreen.
"We always use a sun block of at least 30 or more," said Wilson.
Beachgoer Christy Register said her family does, too.
"We apply our sunscreen and lots of it," she said.
Experts said most people do not lather sunscreen on thick enough.
SPF ratings are based on studies using a certain amount of sunscreen, but most people use only 20 to 50 percent of that amount. That can leave skin vulnerable.
Duke dermatologist Dr. Sarah Myers said most people should use an ounce of sunscreen for each application.
Myers said it is a larger amount than most people think.
"You have to think if you were going to the beach for the week you'd probably use a bottle that week. And that's for yourself, not your entire family," she said.
Sun block should also be applied evenly on exposed areas.
She recommended applying sunscreen thick and in layers and reapplying it multiple times each day.
Myers also said to spread sunscreen methodically. Start with the face and neck, the trunk, the back and arms and legs.
"You do want to see some visible residue. It's eventually going to soak in," she said.
For people who do not like the feel of a lot of sun block, Myers suggested a sun block gel, which rubs into the skin better.
It is best to reapply sun block or sunscreen every one to two hours. After being in the water, reapply every 40 to 80 minutes, even if it is waterproof.