Facts About Sunscreen


SPF- Sun Protection Factor- A measure of the ability of an intervention (sunscreen or clothing) to prevent redness in response to sun exposure.


The American Academy of Dermatology recommends a broad-spectrum sunscreen against UVA and UVB rays with a SPF of at least 15 be used for all skin types.


How to Avoid Sunburns

Shade- Avoid the sun from the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. UVB may pass through clouds causing a sunburn, therefore wear sunscreen even on a cloudy day in the summer.


Clothing- Wide brimmed hats, sunglasses with 100% UV protection, and loose fitting clothes are helpful to protect the skin. Swim shirts with UV protection are great options.


Sunscreen- There are two types of sunscreens available which when applied protect the skin by absorbing or reflecting UV radiation. All age groups from newborn and up may use either form of sunscreen. Infants, however should be kept out of the sun as much as possible.


Physical sunscreens- These are barrier creams which are very useful especially for sensitive skin. The main ingredients are Titanium dioxide and Zinc oxide. These are best also for very young infants.


Water Babies pure & simple SPF 50 ( zinc oxide)

Neutrogena pure & free baby SPF 60+ (UVA/UVB, Titanium dioxide & zinc oxide)

Blue Lizard baby (bluelizard.net) (UVA/UVB, titanium dioxide & zinc oxide)

Aveeno baby continuous protection (ADD seal of recognition)



Chemical Sunscreens- Ideal to protect against UVA and UVB rays.


Look for these ingredients:

Avobenzene (parsol 1789) Octyl salicylate

Cinoxate oxybenzone

Ecamsule zinc oxide

Menthyl anthranilate titanium dioxide

Octyl methoxycinnamate


Protect lips against UVA/UVB with lip balm SPF 15 or higher.

Face sticks are great to use on the face. They help prevent sunscreen from running into the eyes which may cause burning.


Proper Sunscreen Application

Uniformly apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before sun exposure. Reapply sunscreen every 2-3 hours. Also, reapply after swimming or sweating. Do not use products containing both DEET and sunscreen. Reapplication causes excessive exposure to DEET.



If the sunscreen bottle has an expiration date, do not use if expired.

If there is not an expiration date, dispose of the sunscreen after three years.


TANNING IS NOT RECOMMENDED!!! Tanning beds are not a safe way to tan. They emit UVA and UVB which may be stronger than the sun and can cause skin cancer and wrinkles. Tanning beds are not recommended.


Sunburn Treatment

Avoid further sun exposure until symptoms resolve. Moisturizing lotion or aloe vera gel, cold compresses or soaks in cool water may ease discomfort. Tylenol or Ibuprofen may decrease pain and itching.


References: www.aad.org/media/background/factsheets/fact_sunscreen.htm