It’s summer and you and your family need protection from the sun. A spokesman from the American Pharmacists Association says many misconceptions persist about sunscreens.
Dr. Jennifer Athay says a recent survey of major cities found that St. Louis ranked low in knowledge about sun protection. Out of 32 cities surveyed, St. Louis residents ranked 21 st in their knowledge of sun protection in general and sunscreens in particular.
Athay says one of the biggest misconceptions is that you don’t need protection on a cloudy day or if you have a tan or dark skin. She says that’s not adequate protection from the glare of the sun. The Sun Protection Factor, SPF on the bottle, can be confusing. An SPF of 30 isn’t twice the protection of SPF 15. Athay says a SPF of 15 prevents 93% of the UVA rays from getting through and a SPF of 30 prevents 97% of the rays from getting through.
Athay says preparation and common sense play big roles in sun protection. She advises liberally applying sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going out. Sunscreen should be re-applied every two hours. Also, don’t just sit in the sun; take breaks by getting under some shade or putting on extra clothing to give skin a break.
Pharmacists recommend an aloe vera treatment to cool a sunburn. Athay says anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen or an over-the-counter pain reliever.