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Use and Effectiveness

Suggested SPF




Routine day

Outdoor Activity


Always burns easily, never tans




Burns easily, tans slightly




Sometimes burns, tans gradually and moderately




Burns minimally, always tans well




Burns rarely, tans deeply




Almost never burns, deeply pigmented




Sunscreens should be applied 20 minutes to 1 hour before sun exposure.

Behavioral Protection:

There are many things you can do to protect yourself from the most damaging solar radiation:

  1. Stay inside or seek shade during the peak hours of solar radiation, from 10 am to 4 pm.
  2. Tightly woven clothing helps block harmful solar radiation from reaching your skin.    Loosely woven clothing is not adequate, since the gaps in the weave allow the radiation to pass through.
  3. Use a hat or sun visor to protect your head and neck.  Baseball caps do not provide protection for your neck, the sides of your face or your ears; a wide-brimmed hat is better.
  4. If you insist on getting a tan, consider using a self-tanning lotion that contains dihydroxyacetone (DHA).
  5. Avoid tanning salons; they typically also expose skin to UVB radiation similar to sunlight.
  6. Educate children about sun exposure and sunburns.  Childhood sunburns are an indicator for an increased risk of malignant melanoma and non melanoma skin cancers.
  7. Avoid sunburns and wear t-shirts while swimming outdoors.

    We should never use sunscreen in order to spend longer in the sun.
    It should be used to increase our protection.

The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of a sunscreen is a measure of its ability to filter out dangerous UVB rays. The higher the factor the more protection you get from burning. But higher factor sunscreens tend to be more expensive.


Why factor 15?

  • The reason experts recommend factor 15, is that this represents the best balance between protection and price. You will get over 90 per cent protection from UVB rays with SPF 15. Above SPF 30 you don't get much additional protection from higher factors.
  • factor 15 sunscreen offers about 93% protection
  • factor 30 sunscreen offers about 96% protection
  • factor 60 sunscreen offers about 98% protection 

Buying sunscreen

Choose one:

  • With an SPF of 15 or above - this will give you over 90% protection
  • labelled 'broad spectrum' - to protect against UVA and UVB
  • Water resistant - it is less likely to wash or be sweated off
  • with a valid 'use by' date - most sunscreens have a shelf life of 2-3 years you can afford - you don't have to pay for expensive brands. All types are tested and the cheaper brands are as effective if used properly - just remember factor 15+.

Tips for using sunscreen properly

  • Try to apply it 15-30 minutes before going out in the sun
  • Apply to clean, dry skin and rub it only lightly
  • Use generously.
  • Re-apply every 3hrly if you are constantly on field.
  • Apply Put on before make-up, moisturiser, insect repellent, and so on
  • Never use it to spend longer in the sun - this will put you at risk of sun damage that could lead to skin cancer.
  • Do not store sunscreens in very hot places as extreme heat can ruin their protective chemicals.

Stay in the shade 11-3pm

Over the summer months, one of the best ways to avoid the sun's harmful UV rays is to find shade under trees, umbrellas, canopies or indoors.

UV rays are invisible and cannot be felt on the skin. They penetrate deeply into our cells, causing changes that lead to sunburn, skin ageing, eye damage and skin cancer.


Why 11am-3pm?

The sun's UV rays are strongest in the hours around midday. This is why it's best to avoid the sun between 11am and 3pm if you can.

Other things that affect the amount of UV rays are the:

  • Time of year - the highest risk months in the UK are May to September. In Australia, November to February are the danger months. Near the equator, there are strong UV rays all year round.
  • Altitude - UV rays are stronger the higher you go. So skiers and mountaineers beware!
  • Cloud cover - you can still burn on a day when there is thin or scattered cloud, but heavy cloud does offer protection.
  • Reflection - up to 85 per cent of UV rays can be reflected back from snow, sand, cement and water.
  • You can find out more about UV rays in the UV index section.

Providing shade

Using shade is an easy way to be safe.


For example:
  • trees and foliage
  • umbrellas and parasols
  • canopies and awnings
  • tents and shelters
  • wide-brimmed hat


Know your skin type

The UK population includes people with every different skin type. Your skin type is determined by the genes you get from your parents. It affects both your likelihood of burning in the sun and your risk of skin cancer.

Knowing your skin type will help you work out how much sun protection you need. As a general rule, the fairer your skin, the more careful you should be in the sun. People who have fair skin and burn easily or have lots of moles are most at risk of skin cancer.


How to Select, Apply, and Use It Correctly

Selection of the Sunscreen-

  • Pick a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UV-A and UV-B rays and has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15,20,26,30.
  • Read product labels. Look for a waterproof brand if you sweat a lot or go for swimming regularly.
  • Buy a brand that does not contain Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA)
  • Use a water-based sunscreen (gel based) if you have oily skin or acne prone skin.
  • Be aware that more expensive does not mean better. Although a costly brand might feel or smell better, it is not necessarily more effective than a cheaper product.
  • Be aware of the expiration date because some sunscreen ingredients might degrade over time.


When to Apply Sunscreen

Apply sunscreen approximately 30 minutes before going in the sun

Remember to re-apply sunscreen after swimming or strenuous exercise.

Apply sunscreen often throughout the day if you work outdoors, and wear hats and protective clothing.


How to Apply Sunscreen

Shake well before use to mix particles that might be clumped up in the container. Consider using the new spray-on or stick types of sunscreen.

Be sure to apply enough sunscreen. As a rule of teaspoon apply half tsp for the face, 1 tsp for each hands and so on…

Use on all exposed parts including the ears, back, shoulders, and the back of the knees and legs.

Apply thickly and thoroughly.

Be careful when applying sunscreen around the eyes.


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