As athletes, we all know that sun protection is vitally important.
Very often we place ourselves outside for the activities we love. Today there are many options for sun protection including our fantastic Tri Sirena technical gear, which carries a UPF 50 rating. However, we still have body parts exposed to the sun’s damaging rays.
I’m willing to bet, you are using sunscreen the majority of the time when you are outside being active. However, how do you know you are buying the right ones? Also, are you applying it properly and following recommended dermatological guidelines?
Earlier this year I picked up some CEU credits at the Caribbean Dermatology Symposium and I am going to share with you, the current American Academy of Dermatology recommendations for sunscreen application. Here we go!
- SPF 30 or Greater
- Broad Spectrum
- Water Resistant
- Apply 15 minutes prior to exposure
- 1-2 ounces volume for adult coverage
- Re-apply every two hours or following water exposure and/or excessive sweating
- Stay shaded between 10 am and 2 pm
- Wear Tri Sirena protective clothing
These are the general recommendations that we should all know and adhere to. There are also details that are less than common knowledge, but just as critical to factor into your sunscreen purchasing equation. Not all sun protection is created equally. Your sunscreen should contain proper FDA labeling. This labeling should include the level of water resistance, i.e. 40min or 80min resistance time and UV filtration types, i.e. UV-A, UV-B or Broad Spectrum.
The FDA does not approve sunscreens that claim to be “waterproof” or “sweatproof.” Also, the FDA does not allow sunscreens to be labeled “sunblock.” In 2011 the Federal Drug Administration placed regulations on sunscreen manufacturers that state the following.
- Any SPF less than 15 and/or not Broad Spectrum can only indicate that it may help prevent sunburn. It may not state to inhibit skin cancer or premature aging at the skin.
- SPF greater than 15 AND Broad Spectrum may be allowed to indicate that the products help to protect against and prevent skin cancer and skin aging as well as to protect from sunburn.
Now you are an expert about sunscreen selection! But how do you apply it? An average adult needs to apply about two tablespoons or 1fl oz for every application. Which you now know is every two hours for reapplication.
A parting note, to put all of this into perspective, an eight-ounce bottle of sunscreen contains 16 tablespoons. So if you apply three times daily for six hours of sun exposure, then you would need to use an entire eight-ounce bottle for one Tri Sirena training camp weekend.
Written by Gretchen McCabe, Dermatology Nurse Practitioner & Siren Luminary
Follow Gretchen on Instagram @gretchen_mccabe