Hugh Jackman has recently posted a picture of himself with a bandaged nose on social media after having a fifth skin cancer removed. The X-Men star first discovered Basal Cell Carcinoma on his nose in 2013. The Australian actor also urged people to use sunscreen every day.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), the incidence of both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers has been increasing over the past decades. A total of 132,000 melanoma skin cancers and between 2 and 3 million non-melanoma skin cancers occur globally each year.
Unfortunately, one in every three cancers recorded is a skin cancer. The Skin Cancer Foundation says that one in every five people in the U.S. will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.
Dermatologists say that the risk of developing skin cancer is directly linked to the amount and intensity of ultraviolet (UV) light exposure a person receives from the sun.
However, it’s easy to limit excessive UV exposure with the regular use of sun protection. Sunscreen can protect you against the invisible enemy provided it is used correctly.
Here are top tips to use sunscreen correctly and stay safe in the sun.
1. Don’t use expired sunscreen
Don’t use an expired bottle of sunscreen. Throw it away. You should do the same if you’ve kept sunscreen in a hot place like the glove compartment. Because heat can cause some active ingredients in sunscreen to break down and potentially harm your skin.
2. Don’t rely on sunscreen in your makeup
The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) in your foundation or moisturizer isn’t high enough to protect your skin against UV radiation. One should use sunscreen over the makeup so that it provides the skin the best possible protection.
3. Use sunscreen all through the year
It is important to use sunscreen all through the year, even during the winter and monsoon. This is because UV-A rays are always present, no matter the weather or the season.
4. Use sunscreen indoors
You are not safe, even if you spend your entire existence between your office, car, and home. Realize that being indoors does not protect you from the UV damage that causes skin aging. UVB does not generally get indoors whereas UVA does so with relative ease.
5. Don’t count on sunscreen for total sun protection
Sunscreen does not protect you completely from the sun. The rest of the work – wearing UV-blocking sunglasses, sun-protective clothing, and broad-brimmed hat – is up to you. Also, seek shade whenever possible.
6. Apply sunscreen all over your body
It’s best to apply sunscreen when you’re completely naked. Most people apply it only to the parts that are directly exposed to sunlight. However, not all fabrics are UV-resistant, so you need to apply sunscreen all over the body before you wear clothes.
7. Use sufficient amounts of sunscreen
Many of us don’t use sufficient amounts of sunscreen, which means the product can’t live up to its full protective potential. According to dermatologists, one should apply the equivalent of a shot glass of sunscreen (two tablespoons) to the exposed regions of the face and body. If you are using a spray sunscreen, apply until even sheen forms on the skin.
8. Reapply it every two hours
Sunscreen needs to be reapplied every two hours. If you’re in the sun, a quality sunscreen is good for a maximum of two hours.
Remember that swimming and sweating causes the sunscreen to wear off even faster, so try to reapply sunscreen every hour in those situations.
Dermatologists say that there isn’t such a product as “waterproof” sunscreen. However, some products are water resistant for either 40 or 80 minutes. After that? Reapply, reapply, reapply.
9. Use a sunscreen that offers an SPF of at least 30
SPFs evaluate how long your skin can tolerate the sun before burning. If your skin can bear the sun for 10 minutes, an SPF 15 sunscreen will increase the time you can confidently stay in the sun by 15 times – i.e. 2½ hours.
Dermatologists recommend using a sunscreen product that offers an SPF of at least 30.
However, this does not mean that SPF 60 is twice protective. An SPF of 30 will resist about 96% of UVB rays from the sun. As you go up from there, you only see a very small difference. In conclusion, there’s no way to block out 100% of the sun’s rays with sunscreen.
10. Don’t use a body formula on your face
The formula of sunscreens for the body and the face is different. Using body formula on your face could cause break-outs or irritation. So select products which are safe enough to wear near your eyes.
11. Don’t miss other key spots
Apply sunscreen everywhere. The most commonly missed areas are:
- Toes and feet
- Ears, particularly the tops and back of your ears
- Back of the neck under the hairline
- Inner upper arms
12. Don’t wait until you’re outside to apply sunscreen
You should apply your sunscreen 30 minutes before going out in the sun. That way, it has enough time to get absorbed – so you don’t get ultraviolet exposure for those first few moments when your skin is at risk.
13. Use a broad-spectrum formula
There are two types of UV radiation that affect the skin: UVB and UVA. UVB is the one invisible enemy that causes sunburn and UVA causes skin wrinkles. Some sunscreens block only UVB rays. But protecting against UVA rays is just as important. To be fully covered, select sunscreens labeled “broad spectrum,” which means they protect you against both types of rays.
14. Is your black skin protecting you?
Most brown-skinned individuals think that they are naturally protected from the UV radiation. It is true that individuals with dark skin are less likely to burn, but they are not protected from sun damage and skin cancer.
Also, some white people who get tanned also believe that their suntan is protecting them from the sun. But you are also at risk, and you still can burn.
15. Consult with your pediatrician
Consult with your pediatrician to get the best sunscreen for your children. Some kids are sensitive to certain chemicals in sunscreen.
Also, don’t think the sunscreen your child’s daycare or school provides is the best choice for your child. Do examine a small amount of sunscreen on your kid’s wrist before slathering it on, to find out an allergic reaction to the ingredients.
16. UVA star rating
Boots, a pharmacy chain in the UK, introduced their UVA star rating in 1992: the product gets the maximum four stars if it filters out as much UVA as UVB. The product receives three stars if it filters only 75% of UV radiation and so on. So look for a sunscreen with a decent star rating.