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Choose Different SPFs for Different Activities

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The American Academy of Dermatology recommends everyone use sunscreen that offers the following:

  • Broad-spectrum protection (protects against UVA and UVB rays)
  • SPF 30 or higher
  • Water resistance

Broad spectrum protection means it effectively protects against significant portions of both the ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) ranges of the light spectrum.

SPF 30 filters out up to 97 percent of the sun’s UV radiation; SPF 50 filters out up to 98 percent.  

Water-resistant sunscreens last only 40 to 80 minutes after your skin becomes wet.

On a daily basis, SPF 30 is sufficient for the majority of consumers. 

If you have very fair or sensitive skin, a history of skin cancer, or take photo-sensitizing medications, you may need a higher SPF. As well, extended periods of sun exposure if your heading to the beach or spending significant time outdoors, SPF of 50. 

In real life, most people don't actually apply enough of it and they don't reapply it as frequently as they should throughout the day. 

Individuals with darker skin who tan easily and rarely burn may feel they do not need to use sunscreen. However, like sunburn, a tan is the result of DNA damage from exposure to the sun’s harmful UV radiation. Anyone can develop skin cancer, even if you have dark skin. In darker skin, it is frequently not detected until very late stages when it is more likely to be fatal.

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