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Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

Sunburn - Prevention


Other sunscreen tips

Remember that skin that is healing from a sunburn is sensitive to more damage from the sun, so be sure to prevent more sunburn in those areas. The following tips about sunscreen will help you use it more effectively:

  • Older adults should always use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to protect their very sensitive skin.
  • If you have sensitive skin that burns easily, use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
  • If you have dry skin, use a cream or lotion sunscreen.
  • If you have oily skin or you work in dusty or sandy conditions, use a gel, which dries on the skin without leaving a film.
  • 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 hours.

Do not use tanning booths to get a tan. Artificial tanning devices can cause skin damage and increase the risk of skin cancer.

For information on sun exposure and vitamin D, see Getting Enough Vitamin D.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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