Seven simple steps for sun protection

20 May 2013

Woman sunbathing on a loungerSummer is on its way – but before the clouds clear, here are a few tips for when you’re applying sunscreen. Millions of people are diagnosed with skin cancer every year, so make sure you’re as protected as possible.Select a Sunscreen You LoveMake sure it is a sunscreen you don’t mind wearing regularly. “If you think your sunscreen is pasty, thick or smelly, you have the wrong kind,” says Jeffrey Dover, professor of dermatology at Yale University. “It may make you less likely to put it on, or to reapply when you do.”SPF 30 Is the New 15As a general rule, SPF 15 blocks 93 per cent of UVB rays, SPF 30 blocks 97 per cent and SPF 50 blocks 98 per cent. Doctors now typically recommend at least SPF 30—at least being the key words. Remember, no sunscreen provides 100 per cent protection. So to be as safe as possible.Broad-SpectrumCheck labels for the term 'broad-spectrum' – it means the sunscreen provides protection against both UVA (wrinkle- and cancer-causing) and UVB (burning) rays.Layer It OnAlmost nobody applies enough sun lotion. Several big studies show that most people rub in only about a fourth of what's needed to reach the labelled SPF. Apply two coats.Don't Forget Your NoseIt's the number one sunburn spot. People apply sunscreen to their face, but either skip or speed over their nose—especially if they wear glasses.AntioxidantsRays can still get through sunscreen, but antioxidants such as vitamins C and E and green tea can help mitigate damage.Sunscreen Is Only One PartThe hierarchy of sun protection should be avoidance first. Seek shade and wear a wide-brim hat and protective clothing, then use sunscreen. Consider hitting the beach or pool in the morning instead of midday (when sun is strongest), and bring an umbrella and a tightly woven long-sleeve shirt.