May 22, 2017
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Sun Protection and Sunscreens (cont.)

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What's the difference between sunscreen and sunblock?

As described above, there is no such thing as a true "sunblock." This is a marketing term formerly used to label sunscreens with high SPF. Manufacturers can no longer identify their products as sunblocks because these claims are inaccurate exaggerations. No sunscreen can completely block the sun's rays.

Do all tanning products contain sunscreens?

No, some don't. Tanning products such as self-tanners that don't contain sunscreen are required by the FDA to carry a warning label alerting consumers to the dangers of unprotected sunbathing.

What kind of sunglasses offer protection against UV rays?

Only those that provide 100% protection against UVA and UVB radiation, as stated on the label at the time of purchase, should be worn for protection.

Is sunscreen protection necessary in the winter?

Yes, UV radiation, though not as intense in the winter, still poses a threat, especially when rays reflect off snow. Skiers should also note that the degree of exposure to the sun's radiation increases 4% for every 1,000-foot increase in altitude. There is no safe time of year when it comes to UV radiation. The same applies to weather conditions. Even on a cloudy day, 80% of the sun's ultraviolet rays pass through the clouds and reach the earth.

Are a good sunscreen and sunglasses enough?

No, they are only one part of a complete sun-protection program. An effective program also includes limiting sun exposure and wearing protective clothing.

Do sunscreens expire?

Yes, sunscreens can lose effectiveness over time. Many sunscreen products are labeled with an expiration date to signal the limit of the product's effectiveness and stability. Sunscreens are typically designed to be stable for three years. Storing a sunscreen in the heat, however, can cause the active ingredients to lose effectiveness faster than storing it in a cool place. Discard any sunscreen that is past the stamped expiration date, and if you purchase a sunscreen without such a date, write the month and year of purchase on the bottle.

REFERENCES:

American Melanoma Foundation. "Facts About Sunscreen." <http://www.melanomafoundation.org/prevention/facts.htm>.

Environmental Working Group. "EWG's 2015 Guide to Sunscreens." <http://www.ewg.org/2015sunscreen/>.

Holman, Dawn M., et al. "Patterns of sunscreen use on the face and other exposed skin among US adults." Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology May 19, 2015. <http://www.eblue.org/article/S0190-9622(15)01352-3/abstract>.

United States. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. "Sunscreen." Sept. 30, 2016. <http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/
BuyingUsingMedicineSafely/UnderstandingOver-the-CounterMedicines/ucm239463.htm>.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/30/2016

Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/sun_protection_and_sunscreens/article.htm

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