Random Health Fact:

Sun Essentials
Summer is here, it is time to head to the pool or beach and have some fun!   Here are some important tips and facts to keep in mind.

1) Be sure to use plenty of sunscreen before going out into the sun. It is best to apply sunscreen at least 15 to 20 minutes before sun exposure, and to apply it liberally.

2) According to the FDA, a product's SPF (sunscreen protection factor) number tells you how long you can stay in the sun before getting burned. If you can normally stay in the sun 15 minutes before you start turning pink, an SPF 15 product will let you stay in the sun for approximately 3 1/2 hours without burning. If you begin turning pink after 10 minutes, an SPF 15 will let you stay in the sun approximately 2 1/2 hours. The formula is 10 (minutes) x 15(SPF) = 150 (minutes), or 2 1/2 hours. If you're swimming or perspiring, you must wear a water-resistant sunscreen which provides 40 to 80 minutes of protection before you need to reapply it in order to maintain a sufficient level of protection.

3) If you have babies or small children, sunscreen protection should be of primary concern. Their delicate skin is even more sensitive to the sun's damaging energy. All sunscreen formulations that have an SPF are regulated closely by the FDA; the formulations don't differ in any way. For children's products it is essential that the one you choose contains one of these UVA-protecting ingredients: avobenzone, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, Mexoryl SX, or Tinosorb.

4) Tanning in the sun or in a tanning bed is equally dangerous to your skin and your health.

5) You do not need to get an actual sunburn to do damage to your skin.

6) Even on a cloudy or hazy day, the sun's rays are present and can damage your skin.

7) Sitting in the shade or wearing a hat only protects against a portion of the sun's rays, you still need to apply sunscreen. Also, other surrounding surfaces such as water, cement, and grass reflect the rays from the ground to your skin giving you double the exposure.

For more information on protecting small children from the sun, contact the American Cancer Society at www.cancer.org

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