How to use sunscreen properly - an image of sunbathers on a beach

How to properly use sunscreen

Despite buying the correct sunscreen and remembering to reapply, many people may find themselves with a painful sunburn during summer months
June 5, 2019

Even though we know too much sun exposure to our skin can lead to premature aging, wrinkles and several types of skin cancer, fewer than 15 percent of men and 30 percent of women use sunscreen regularly when outside for more than one hour.


“You want to apply sunscreen before you go out in the sun. If you look at different bottles, they might say apply 10 to 15 minutes beforehand,” Gabriel Neal, MD, primary care physician with the Texas A&M Family Medicine Residency and clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Medicine. “Some types don’t need to wait…but before you get into the sun, put the sunscreen on.”

He also recommends reapplying the sunscreen every one to two hours, purchasing a sunscreen protective against ultraviolet light A and B and reapplying the sunscreen even when in water.

“We definitely recommend buying an SPF of 35 or greater, but really past an SPF of 50 there is not a lot more benefits,” Neal said.

Regardless of whether you are working in the yard or laying on the beach, sunscreen is critical to keeping your skin healthy. Remember to have fun in the summer sun but do not forget to apply and reapply your sunscreen.

For Vital Record, this is Mary Leigh Meyer.

— Mary Leigh Meyer

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