Posted by: Kelley Dees | June 22, 2011

Sun Safety

What is your sun safety IQ? Take our Sun Safety IQ Test here then read the answers and explanations below!

1. I can’t get skin cancer because my routine (work, drive to work, indoor hobbies, and vacations) doesn’t include any outdoor activities.   False. Dermatologists say brief sun exposures all year round can add up to major damage for people with fair skin. And the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays do pass through car windows, so driving during peak sun hours (10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.) bathes your hands and arms in damaging UV rays. When added up, everyday exposures are linked to squamous cell cancer. Although not as dangerous as melanoma, squamous cell cancer is far more common and the number of cases has been going up every year.

2. My husband should use sunscreen at football games, even though he only goes (and gets a burn!) once or twice a year. True. Many people think it’s okay to get a sunburn now and then, but studies show that even occasional exposure to strong sunlight seems to increase the risk of the most serious type of skin cancer, melanoma.

3. If I’m wearing sunscreen, I can stay in the sun as long as I want. False. It’s not smart to broil in the sun for several hours, even if you are wearing sunscreen. These products don’t provide total protection from UV rays. The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that people seek shade and limit time in the sun at midday. Also, cover up with a shirt, wear a wide-brimmed hat, use a sunscreen rated SPF 15 or higher, and reapply it about every 2 hours. And don’t forget sunglasses for eye protection.

4. A sunscreen labeled SPF 30 blocks twice as much UV radiation as one labeled SPF 15. False. The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) describes how long a product will protect your skin, if you apply the sunscreen correctly.  The SPF increases the amount of time you can be in the sun without burning. If you burn in 15 minutes, SPF 15 will provide you with 225 minutes of protection (15 minutes until sunburn x 15 SPF=225). However, in practical use, you need to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours and be sure to choose a broad spectrum product that blocks UVA and UVB light and use a lot!

5. It’s safe to let my children stay in the pool all day if they slip on a T-shirt after a couple of hours and reapply sunscreen to their faces, arms, and legs. False. UV rays easily go through a white cotton T-shirt, especially if it’s wet. Your children will only get about as much protection as an SPF 4 sunscreen–certainly not enough for all day and well below the minimum SPF 15 recommended by the ACS. Better clothing choices include dark colors, fabrics with tight weaves, and specially treated garments and bathing suits. Sun-protective clothing is often available in sporting goods stores. Another good choice is moving into the shade. For babies younger than 6 months, shade, sun-protective clothing, and hats are best. As a last resort, pediatricians now say that very small amounts of sunscreen may be used on small areas, such as the face and back of the hands.

6. How often do you need to reapply water-resistant sunscreen? All of the above. For best results, most sunscreens need to be reapplied about every 2 hours or sooner, but be sure to check the label. Sunscreens labeled “water resistant” are made to protect you when swimming or sweating, but may only last for 40 minutes. Also, remember that sunscreen usually rubs off when you towel dry.

7. Getting a “base tan” at an indoor tanning salon is a good way to prevent sunburn when I go to the beach later this summer. Experts say a “base tan” gives you very little protection against sunburn. And that goes for indoor tans, as well, which provide a sun protection factor of about 4, much less than most sunscreens. A base tan may, in fact, increase the chance you’ll get a burn, because you’re likely to stay out longer without properly protecting your skin. Also, tanning itself injures the skin. What you don’t see is UV damage to deeper layers, where it builds up from every tan and burn you’ve ever had. There is no such thing as a “safe tan.”

8. What are the two most common (and painful!) sunscreen mistakes? B (waiting too long to reapply) and C (using too little sunscreen). About one ounce of sunscreen (a ‘palmful’) should be used to cover the arms, legs, neck, and face of the average adult. For best results, most sunscreens should be reapplied at least every 2 hours and even more often if you are swimming or sweating. Products labeled “waterproof” may provide protection for at least 80 minutes even when you are swimming or sweating. Products that are “water resistant” may provide protection for only 40 minutes. To be safe, use a lot of sunscreen and use it often.

9. Now put it all together: You applied sunscreen at 12:00 noon for an afternoon of reading beside the pool. At 2:00 P.M., which one of the following actions would best protect your skin? Move to the shade. While all 3 actions help, getting out of the mid-day sun is the best choice in this situation. Seeking shade is a key element in preventing skin cancer, especially between 10:00 A.M. and 4:00 P.M. The sundress blocks very little UV radiation because it’s made of cotton. It compares to a sunscreen rated SPF 4. Covering up is the right idea, but dark colors, tight weaves, and clothing labeled at least UPF 30 work better. Sunscreen should not be used to extend your time in intense sunlight. It’s an important part of a larger strategy that the ACS recommends to protect your skin, but it does not provide total protection. To get the most from sunscreen, choose products of SPF 15 or higher that block both UVA and UVB rays, reapply at least every 2 hours, and use at least 1 ounce (or a palmful) for an adult.

This information is provided courtesy of the Wyoming AgrAbility Project. For more information, visit our website or call toll-free at 866-395-4986.

This information is adapted from Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers’ “What’s Your Sun-Safety IQ?” and the American Cancer Society.



  1. Fantastic article!

  2. I think this is of most significant information for me. The website style is great, the articles is truly excellent 😀 Just right job, cheers.

    • Thanks Jay! I hope you continue to visit our site, as we try to update the information regularly.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: