The Ultimate Guide to Sun Safety

prevention and treatment of sunburns, independent pharmacies, Benton, AR

Taking precautions before spending time in the sun can help you prevent sunburn and further cancer-causing damage. 

Being out in the sun during summer can be a lot of fun, but it can also lead to sunburns. Find out how you and your family can enjoy a summer filled with outdoor activities while staying safe in the sun.

The sun’s UV rays can end up giving you a painful sunburn, depending on how much protection you have. The prevention and treatment of sunburns is highly important, since exposure to UV rays without adequate protection can increase your risk of skin cancer. Keep the following information in mind as you choose sunscreen for the summer.

Sunscreen Terminology

When you look at sunscreen products, you will likely see UVA, UVB and SPF on them. What do these stand for?

  • UVA: UVA rays are ultraviolet rays that can lead to premature aging, such as wrinkles, and raise your risk of skin cancer. Most of the UV rays that reach the earth are UVA rays, since these can go through the protective ozone layer.
  • UVB: UVB rays are another type of UV ray that comes from the sun. UVB rays can burn your skin and increase your risk of developing cataracts and skin cancer. These rays can even affect your immune system, making you more vulnerable to health problems.
  • Broad-spectrum: This means that sunscreen protects from both UVA and UVB rays. You should get this type of sunscreen for optimal protection from the sun.
  • SPF: Sun protection factor, or SPF, refers to the amount of protection you get from the sun’s UVB rays. In order to get enough protection to prevent sunburns and tanned skin, which also indicates sun damage, choose sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 30.
  • Waterproof: You are more likely to see the term “water-resistant” on sunscreen products. Sunscreen is not waterproof, but some products are more resistant to wearing off while sweating or swimming. Most of these products last for 40 or 80 minutes.

Sunscreen Tips for Maximum Protection

Sunscreen can significantly lower your risk of sunburns if you use it the right way. Use these tips to get the most protection from the sun this summer.

  • Since these products take some time to start working, it is best to apply them about 30 minutes before you go out.
  • Put sunscreen on again every two hours while you are outside. Even if you have a sunscreen with a high SPF, it still needs to be reapplied every couple of hours.
  • Do not overlook vulnerable areas that can get sunburns, such as ears and feet. Use a generous amount of sunscreen on all exposed areas of the skin.
  • Use a lip balm with SPF 30 or higher to protect your lips from sunburn.
  • Wear water-resistant sunscreen if you will be swimming, since the water’s surface makes UV rays more intense. Reapply sunscreen when you leave the water, and keep in mind that it can come off when you dry off with a towel.

Looking for sunscreen or products to treat sunburn at independent pharmacies in Benton, AR? Call Smith-Caldwell Drug Store at 501-315-7700. Our pharmacists are here to help, whether you need advice on preventing a sunburn or help treating it.