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Sunscreen and Sunblock (cont.)

The Perfect Sunscreen Should...

Patient Comments
  1. Last all day after one application
  2. Be waterproof so it stays intact after sweating or bathing
  3. Be entirely nontoxic
  4. Be entirely non-allergenic
  5. Not produce eye irritation
  6. Block 100% of ultraviolet light -- it should be broad spectrum.
  7. Be cosmetically elegant
  8. Be very inexpensive

Proper Application of Sunscreen

The major problem with sunscreen is forgetting to apply it. There are certain criteria recommended by the U.S. FDA for labeling of sunscreens, including the permission to use the term "water resistant." This information is not immediately applicable to our normal daily activities. Sunscreens should be applied to skin not covered by clothing that is likely to be exposed to sunlight. This includes the forearms, the rims of the ears, and the top of the head (if you are somewhat hair compromised).

When and How Often to Apply Sunscreen

Sunscreens should be applied prior to spending more than 15 or 20 minutes in direct or reflected sunlight. Since sometimes we really do not know how long we will really be exposed, it is not a bad idea to apply it first thing in the morning. If one expects to be getting wet, it seems prudent to apply it frequently since even if it is water resistant it will disappear from the skin surface over time.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/17/2017
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