Some sunscreens say they are water-resistant or
waterproof and can protect for about 40 minutes in the sun if a person is doing
a water activity.
Applying a sunscreen
Apply the sunscreen at least 30 minutes
before going in the sun.
Apply sunscreen to all the skin that will
be exposed to the sun, including the nose, ears, neck, scalp, and lips.
Sunscreen needs to be applied evenly over the skin and in the amount
recommended on the label. Most sunscreens are not completely effective because
they are not applied correctly. It usually takes about
1 fl oz (30 mL) to cover an
Apply sunscreen every 2 to 3 hours while in the sun
and after swimming or sweating a lot. The SPF value decreases if a person
sweats heavily or is in water, because water on the skin reduces the amount of
protection the sunscreen provides. Wearing a T-shirt while swimming does not
protect your skin unless sunscreen has also been applied to your skin under the
Other sunscreen tips
The following tips about sunscreen will help you use it
Older adults should always use a
sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 to protect their very sensitive
If you have sensitive skin that burns easily, use a sunscreen
with an SPF of at least 15.
If you have dry skin, use a cream or
If you have oily skin or you work in dusty or
sandy conditions, use a gel, which dries on the skin without leaving a
If your skin is sensitive to skin products or you have had a skin
reaction (allergic reaction) to a sunscreen, use a sunscreen
that is free of chemicals, para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), preservatives, perfumes, and alcohol.
If you are going to have high
exposure to the sun, consider using a
physical sunscreen (sunblock), such as zinc oxide,
which will stop all sunlight from reaching the skin.
If you need to
use sunscreen and insect repellent with DEET, do not use a product that
combines the two. You can apply sunscreen first and then apply the insect
repellent with DEET, but the sunscreen needs to be reapplied every 2
Do not use tanning booths to get a tan. Artificial
tanning devices can cause skin damage and increase the risk of skin