Sunscreen Q & A

We all spend more time outdoors during the summer months so we thought this would be an excellent time to answer some of the most popular questions that we are asked about sunscreen.

Q) Should I wear sunscreen after 4pm? A) Absolutely! Until the sun is down the sun emits UVB rays. UVB rays may be less intense but they are still present. You should reapply your sunscreen for best protection.

Q) What is zinc oxide? A) Zinc oxide is an inorganic compound used in sunscreens to offer more broad spectrum protection. Zinc offers the physical block that is needed to keep the sun’s harmful rays from penetrating the skin. We recommend using sunscreens that contain zinc oxide of 5% or higher. Zinc oxide is non-allergenic and chemical free. In addition, zinc oxide will not penetrate or absorb through the skin surface, meaning that it has no toxicity.

Q) What is the difference between UVA and UVB rays? A) An easy way to remember the difference between UVA and UVB rays is that UVA rays are responsible for aging the skin (A for Aging). However, recently UVA has been shown to increase the development of melanoma, or mole cancer. Most of us are exposed to large amounts of UVA throughout our lifetime. UVA rays account for up to 95 percent of the UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. They are present with relatively equal intensity during all daylight hours throughout the year, and can penetrate clouds and glass. UVB rays are responsible for our skin turning pink and red. (B for Burn) UVB rays damage the skin’s more superficial epidermal layers and plays a major role in the development of skin cancer and photo-aging. BUT UVA also can cause the brown spots, melasma and abnormal moles that are a problem for many people. These types of rays are highest between 10 AM and 4 PM from April to October. However, UVB rays can burn and damage your skin year-round, especially at high altitudes and on reflective surfaces such as snow or ice, which bounce back up to 80 percent of the rays so that they hit the skin twice.

Q) At what age can I apply sunscreen to my child? A) Most sunscreens can be applied to children 6 months of age and older. It is always best to keep children out of the sun, but especially under the age of 6 months.

Q) What is the shelf life of sunscreen after opened? A) Sunscreen holds its efficacy for 6-12 months after being opened. It is recommended that you replenish your sunscreen at the start of each season.

Q) How often should I reapply my sunscreen? A) The general rule is to reapply your sunscreen every 1 ½ to 2 hours. If your skin is fair and/or sensitive reapply every 1 – 1 ½ hours. Always reapply when getting out of the water.

Q) What is the difference between waterproof and water resistant? A) There is no such thing as waterproof when it comes to sunscreen. Water-resistant sunscreen tends to hold up better when you are sweating or in the water. This is also why water-resistant sunscreens tend to have a thicker feel to them.

Q) Can I get sun protection from my makeup? A) The SPF that is in makeup is usually not enough protection from UVA and UVB rays if you are going to be outside for any significant time. Generally the percentage of active sunscreen ingredients is not high enough to offer the broad-spectrum protection that is needed but it is great as an added barrier of protection.

Q) Do I need sunscreen if I have darker skin? A) Absolutely! You can still get skin cancer if your skin is darker. But also the sun can cause many pigment irregularities and blotchy skin.

Q) What are the new FDA regulations for sunscreen? A) All sunscreen must provide both UVA and UVB protection. Also, the maximum SPF claim allowed is SPF 50+. It has been found that anything above an SPF 50 (SPF 70, SPF 100 for example) isn’t offering any more coverage than an SPF 50. Most sunscreens that are labelled UVA protection only cover a small percentage of UVA coverage, which is why we recommend zinc oxide since it covers about 95% of UVA protection.

Q) Do I need to wear sunscreen in winter? A) YES! Just like water, snow is highly reflective and will reflect the sun’s rays back at you so you get hit with them TWICE! The sun’s rays are also able to penetrate through clouds so they are not protecting you! ALSO, UVA goes through window glass so you are NOT protected from the sun if you are in your car. *All prices are subject to change.  Please refer to product page for product pricing.

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