Sunscreen and the Protection of Your Skin
Now that summer is in full swing, you’re probably spending more time outdoors than any other season. Whether you enjoy lounging poolside or a day on the lake, protecting your skin from harmful UV rays with sunscreen can help reduce your risk of skin cancer and other skin-related conditions such as sunspots or fine lines and wrinkles. However, how do you know if the sunscreen you are using is effective and safe? Here are some ways you can tell.
Is Your Sunscreen FDA Approved?
All sunscreen products on the market are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure that you are getting a safe and effective product. As of February 2019, the FDA updated its regulations related to sunscreen safety. The FDA recommends that Americans should use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF of 15 or higher. The FDA does not endorse the following sunscreen products as safe or effective:
- Sunscreen-insect repellent combinations
- Sunscreen powders
- Sunscreens containing aminobenzoic acid (PABA) or trolamine salicylate.
Do Sunscreens Expire?
Yes—the FDA requires all sunscreens to have expiration dates unless the sunscreen manufacturer has done stability testing and proves that the sunscreen product will be stable for at least three years. Expired sunscreen may not provide the proper protection that you need. If you have an FDA approved sunscreen without an expiration date, be sure to toss it after three years from the purchase date.
Is Sunscreen Enough to Protect Your Skin?
Sunscreen is just one component to protect your skin from the sun. Wearing sunscreen daily and taking the following protective measures, can help guard against the sun’s harmful UV rays:
- Avoid direct sun between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm.
- Wear protective accessories such as sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat.
- Wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and pants to shield your arms and legs from the sun.
In addition to the above, remember to apply sunscreen even on cloudy days and reapply sunscreen after swimming, toweling off, or sweating.
Contact Kirby Medical Center
At Kirby Medical Center, we are dedicated to helping our community learn how to stay healthy and safe. Contact Kirby Medical Center at 217-762-2115 to learn more about how we can help you with all your healthcare needs.