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On Good Morning America Dr. Whitney Bowe of Advanced Dermtology, P.C. discussed some of the top things that people don’t know about sunscreen. Here are some of the facts she talks about so that you and your family stay safe this summer!
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. It tells you a sunscreen’s ability to protect against UVB rays, which cause sunburn. SPF does not tell you about how a sunscreen protects against UVA rays. UVA rays are associated with premature skin aging. Both kinds of rays are associated with an increased risk for skin cancer. SPF 30 does not give you twice as much protection as SPF 15. An SPF of 15 means that about 94% of UVB rays will be blocked, while SPF 30 means that about 97% will be blocked.
The important thing to remember is that both UVA and UVB cause skin damage and can lead to skin cancer. They are different types of wavelengths that reach earth from the sun. UVB is the type most responsible for sunburn. UVA is the type most prevalent in tanning beds. A sunscreen labeled “broad spectrum” should protect against both UVA and UVB rays.
The amount of sunscreen you use depends on the kind of sunscreen application (spray, lotion, bar) but should cover every area of skin that will be exposed to the sun. A general rule is that if you are using sunscreen lotion that you use two shot glasses worth to cover your entire body.