07/13/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/13/2020 09:59
Following guidance from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) and the CDC, the HSHS Illinois hospitals of HSHS St. John's Hospital in Springfield; HSHS St. Mary's Hospital in Decatur; HSHS St. Francis Hospital in Litchfield; HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital in Shelbyville; HSHS St. Elizabeth's Hospital in O'Fallon, HSHS St. Anthony's Memorial Hospital in Effingham; HSHS Holy Family Hospital in Greenville, and HSHS St. Joseph's Hospitals in Breese and Highland offer the following answers to some of the most frequently-asked-questions about using sunscreen to stay safe in the sun.
Who should wear sunscreen?
Everyone above six months of age who will be spending any time outside (ideally, parents should avoid exposing babies younger than six months to the sun's rays). Sunscreen use can help prevent skin cancer by protecting you from the sun's harmful UV rays. Anyone can get skin cancer, regardless of age, gender or race. In fact, according to the AAD, it is estimated 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.
Do I only need to put on sunscreen when it is sunny outside?
You should apply sunscreen every day if you will be outside. The sun emits harmful UV rays year-round and even on cloudy days, up to 80% of the sun's harmful UV rays can penetrate your skin.
What sunscreen should I use?
Everyone should use sunscreen that offers the following:
Is there a special sunscreen I should use for my toddler?
Sunscreen use should be avoided, if at all possible, in babies younger than six months (ideally, parents should avoid exposing babies younger than six months to the sun's rays). Parents of infants and toddlers six months and older may apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to their children's exposed skin that is not covered by protective clothing, according to the instructions on product label, and reapplied approximately every two hours or according to the label directions. Sunscreens that use the ingredients zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, or special sunscreens made for infants or toddlers may cause less irritation to their sensitive skin.
Broad-spectrum sunscreens protect against UVA and UVB rays. What is the difference between UVA and UVB rays?
Sunlight consists of two types of harmful rays that reach the earth - UVA rays and UVB rays. Overexposure to either can lead to skin cancer. All sunscreen products protect against UVB rays, which are the main cause of sunburn and skin cancers. But it is important to also protect against UVA rays, which also contribute to skin cancer and premature aging.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has regulations in place that requires any sunscreen on the market to meet FDA standards for both UVB and UVA protection before it could be labeled 'broad-spectrum.' Products that aren't broad-spectrum must carry a warning that they only protect against sunburn, and not against skin cancer or skin aging.
Is a higher SPF sunscreen better than a lower SPF sunscreen?
Dermatologists recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, which blocks 97 percent of the sun's UVB rays. Higher-number SPFs block slightly more of the sun's UVB rays, but no sunscreen can block 100 percent of the sun's UVB rays.
How much sunscreen should I use and how often should I apply it?
Does sunscreen expire? Can I reuse the sunscreen I bought last summer?
Dermatologists recommend using sunscreen every day when you are outside, not just during the summer. If you are using sunscreen every day and in the correct amount, a bottle should not last long. If you find a bottle of sunscreen that you have not used for some time, here are some guidelines from the AAD that you can follow:
Sunscreen also may be sold in combination with an insect repellant. The AAD recommends purchasing and using these products separately - sunscreen needs to be applied generously and often, whereas insect repellant should be used sparingly and much less frequently.
Regardless of which sunscreen you choose, be sure to apply it generously to achieve the UV protection indicated on the product label.
Are there other ways to stay safe in the sun?
In addition to these sunscreen tips, please keep in mind that seeking shade under a tree, umbrella or other shelter, as well as wearing wide brimmed hats, sunglasses, and tightly woven clothing, or long sleeves and pants can protect you from UV rays.
Of course, you could always protect yourself by staying indoors, but during the summer months, that's no fun! You can have plenty of safe sun fun during the summer by taking these steps to protect yourself and your family.
For more information, visit the American Academy of Dermatology's Sunscreen Resource Center at https://www.aad.org/sunscreen.