What are sunscreen users doing wrong?
(WXYZ) – Using sunscreen is important because it helps reduce your risk for the most common form of cancer for Americans, skin cancer.
Researchers from the University of Minnesota Medical School set up free sunscreen dispensers and studied those who used it.
They found only 33% of nearly 2,200 people applied it correctly.
You should apply sunscreen to ALL areas of exposed skin. Surprisingly, the researchers found less than half applied it to their faces, and only 38% of people wore sun-protective clothing.
More women than men took advantage of the free sunscreen, which is concerning because men over 50 have a higher risk of developing the deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma.
What is the difference between UVA and UVB rays?
UVA stands for ultraviolet A. It’s the sun’s long-wave rays and can cause wrinkling and age spots.
UVB or ultraviolet B is the sun’s shortwave rays and can cause sunburn.
Too much exposure to both UVA and UVB can also cause eye damage like cataracts and may also suppress your immune system.
- Apply sunscreen to all areas of exposed skin even when it’s cloudy. Because up to 80% of the sun’s skin-damaging ultraviolet rays can still reach you even on overcast days.
- Choose products labeled “broad spectrum”. It’ll help protect against UVA and UVB rays – both of these can lead to cancer.
- Make sure your sunscreen has an SPF of 30 or higher as it can block up to 97% of UVB rays. Apply every two hours or sooner if you sweat a lot or go swimming.
- And don’t forget hats and sunglasses. If you wear hats on a regular basis, a 1-inch brim can reduce your risk of skin cancer by roughly 10%, and a 4-inch brim by 40%.
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Data pulled from WXYZ.