Do You Know the RIGHT Way to Use Sunscreen?

Squeeze it, smear it, and go?

Turns out, there’s a little more to proper sunscreen use, says the American Academy of Dermatology. As we get into some of Nashville’s hottest temperatures, a quick refresh of proper sunscreen use can help you and your family stay safe while outside.

Why Use Sunscreen?

  • 1 in 5 people in the US will develop skin cancer.
  • Using sunscreen is one of the most effective things you can do in reducing your risk for skin cancer.
  • Sunscreen can help reduce premature aging of the skin.

How to Use Sunscreen

The Nashville doctors at St. Thomas Medical Group offer the following sunscreen recommendations…

  • Use a broad spectrum sunscreen. “Broad spectrum” (you’ll see this printed on the front of the bottle) means the product offers protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. UVA rays can cause premature skin aging (such as wrinkling); UVB rays cause the visible sunburn we’ve all experienced. You need protection from both, and only a broad spectrum sunscreen can provide it.
  • Choose a sunscreen that’s labeled SPF 30 or higher. SPF stands for “sun protection factor.” The number represents how much longer the product allows you to be exposed to the sun’s rays without getting burned. So, if your skin would normally burn in just 10 minutes of exposure, you would actually last 300 minutes (10 x 30), or 5 hours. Take that recommendation with a grain of salt, though. With water, sweat, and activity, sunscreen is more likely to be removed from the skin before it offers a full afternoon of protection!
  • That being the case, reapply sunscreen regularly. A general rule of thumb is to reapply every two hours. If swimming or sweating, then reapply immediately.
  • Also, the Nashville doctors at St. Thomas Medical Group recommend a water resistant sunscreen. Even if you don’t plan on going for a dip, water resistant sunscreens can offer extended protection in the heat of the summer when sunscreen is quickly carried away from the skin through sweat.
  • Not sure how much to use? One ounce (enough to fill a shot glass) is a standard recommendation from the American Academy of Dermatology for covering the average body. You can adjust depending on your size and the amount of skin exposed. Most people tend to apply too little sunscreen.
  • Apply sunscreen approximately 15 minutes before going outside. This allows time for the sunscreen to offer the protection you need!
  • Finally, make sure to use a lip balm with SPF protection. Any skin exposed to sun needs protection, and only sunscreen can do the job!

Find a Doctor Near You In Nashville

Have more questions about caring for your family? Schedule an appointment online with a Children & Adult provider at St. Thomas Medical Group. Or, you can schedule your next appointment by calling +1 (615) 301-7040.