Health Mart: Sunscreens

Christine Jacobson with Health Mart Pharmacies talks about sunscreens and some suggestions from Consumer Reports on ways to protect yourself from the sun.


Here are some suggestions from Consumer Reports on protecting yourself from the sun and the different sunscreens you can use.

– Choose a sunscreen labeled very water resistant or waterproof with an SPF of at least 30.

– Check out the ratings for excellent to very good choices.

– Apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going out in order that it might be absorbed by your skin. Reapply every 2 hours or after swimming or sweating heavily

– Use one ounce (2 tablespoons) of lotion per application

– Don’t use sunscreen that’s more than two years old. If there’s no expiration date, be sure to mark it when you buy it.

– Don’t rely on sunscreen alone to protect you. Wear tightly woven clothing and a hat, wear sunglasses, limit your time in the sun and find shade during the hottest part of the day (10 AM – 4 PM)

– Most sunscreens are effective at the SPF 30 level and come in a variety of preparations including lotions, sprays, and gels. Check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist on which preparation is best for you.

UVA and UVB Rays

The Skin Cancer Foundation describes ultraviolet radiation as part of the electromagnetic (light) spectrum that reaches the earth from the sun. These are characterized as UVA, UVB and UVC. UVC rays are short and absorbed by the ozone layer. However, UVA and UVB rays aren’t stopped by ozone and both can cause eye damage and skin cancer.

According to a recently published Health News article, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime. In addition, the article states, the incidence of melanoma is increasing at the fastest rate of the seven most common cancers with an expectation that 62,480 melanomas will be diagnosed this year with almost 8,420 of them resulting in death.

The article continues that sunscreens may be used on infants over the age of six months. However, newborns must be kept out of the sun for total protection. And be sure to examine your skin closely on a monthly basis and visit your physician annually for a professional exam or if you have any questions.

A variety of sunscreens and sunblocks are available at your nearest Health Mart Pharmacy. Go to to find a location nearest to you.

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