Sunscreen isn’t just something you smear on your skin once a day! Actually, sunscreen works by essentially activating inside the cells of your skin and that is process that takes a minute. – It actually takes 20-30 minutes before your sunscreen application is protecting you!! That means that the right time to apply it is 20 minutes BEFORE you are going to be in the sun!
AND the protection you get from sunscreen doesn’t last very long! Whether you have gotten wet or not, sunscreen, activated in your cells, lasts for about an hour. That means that full protection means you apply the sunscreen 20 minutes PRE-SUN exposure and every 20 minutes after that for as long as you are outside!
Every Lake Lover knows that there are “forgotten places” when it comes to sunscreen. So, don’t forget to apply sunscreen behind your neck and your ears, along the part in your hair and on the tops of your feet.
To make sure you buy the right sunscreen, read the label carefully!
Click HERE for some guidance about UBV and SPF protections.
There are so many things to remember to pack for a great trip to the lake! From the comforts of home, to overnight stuff to food and the all-important phone charger there is a lot to pack for your trip to the lake! But one of the first items to go into the tote should be sunscreen.
Nothing ruins a weekend to the lake like a sunburn. So the best advice is to make sure that you prevent that!
UVA vs UVB
The first thing to know is that sunscreens vary by what they are protecting you from. The sun emits two different types of harmful rays – UVA and UVB. While they are both harmful, the UVA are the longer rays that cause skin damage and some of the cancers. UVB are shorter rays and they, too, cause skin damage and some cancers, but they are responsible for sunburns. When you buy sunscreen, make sure it is a BROAD SPECTRUM brand that protects for BOTH UVA and UVB rays.
The Meaning of SPF
The next thing to look at is the SPF. SPF stands for “Sun Protection Factor”. It is a rating that lets you know how much longer it takes for you to burn in the sun. For someone in the sun, skin will begin to turn pink in about 20 minutes of being outside. A 30% SPF means that it will take you 30 times longer to become sunburned by UBV rays than if you wore no sunscreen at all. Likewise, a 15% SPF means that you will take 15 times as long to begin to burn than if you wore not sunscreen at all. AND all of this assumes that you are not sweaty of splashing in the water.
Once you have selected your sunscreen, you need to use enough of it to cover your body and to allow your cells to absorb enough to work for you. Don’t be stingy! Each application for each person should be about 1oz (a shot glass full) of sunscreen! In a study done about how people use sunscreen, it showed that most people are only using about 25% of what they need to protect themselves.
What about the Waterproof Sunscreens?
No sunscreen is waterproof! Eventually they all wash off. A regular sunscreen will wash off in about 40 minutes of staying in the water. A “Waterproof” sunscreen is gone in 80 minutes.
Sunscreen is NOT a One and Done!
Every time you have gotten wet or if you get sweaty, you need to reapply sunscreen. BUT beyond that, it takes about 20 minutes for your cells to absorb and activate the sunscreen. You need to make sure that everyone in your crew has applied their shot glass full of sunscreen 20 minutes BEFORE you are all going to be in the sun! AND sunscreen protection doesn’t last that long – even if you weren’t floating in the water! Sunscreen must be applied (a full shot glass) every 20 minutes AND after you exit the water.
REMEMBER the “forgotten spots”! These include the tops of your feet, back of your neck, behind your ears and along the part in your scalp.
A word about babies. The sensitive skin of a baby under 6 months old can react badly to both the chemicals of sunscreen AND the sun exposure. Remember that sunburns last a lifetime. It may be decades after a sunburn that the skins cancers begin to emerge.