· To prevent sun burns, most organizations recommend products with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30.
· When using an SPF 30 sunscreen and applying it thickly, you get the equivalent of 1 minute of UVB rays for each 30 minutes you spend in the sun.
· Sunscreens labeled with SPFs as high as 100+ are now available, and while higher numbers do mean more protection, many people mistakenly think that a sunscreen with an SPF 45 rating would give three times as much protection as one with an SPF of 15. This is not true.
· Ideally, about 1 ounce of sunscreen (about a palmful) should be used to cover the arms, legs, neck and face of the average adult. Apply 15-30 minutes before sun exposure. For best results, reapply at least every two hours and even more often if you are swimming or sweating.
· Products labeled "waterproof" may provide protection for at least 80 minutes even when you are swimming or sweating. Products that are "water resistant" may protect for only 40 minutes.
· UV rays are strongest when the sun is high in the sky, usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
· The SPF number indicates protection against UVB rays only. Sunscreen products labeled "broad spectrum" provide some protection against both UVA and UVB rays, but at this time there is no standard system for measuring protection from UVA rays.
About Arizona's Sun
· Arizona's typical UV Index during the summer is 11 or 12, considered Extreme, with recommendations to wear sunscreen and hats when out between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
· Daily UV Index forecasts are available here.
· If you happen to be outside on one of Arizona's rare cloudy days, don't think you are safe from the sun! Up to 80 percent of the ultraviolet rays of the sun that burn you are getting through those clouds.
[Photo: W Scottsdale]