While sunscreen is a powerful weapon against cancer, most users don’t understand its intricacies – like when to wear it, how much to use, and what SPF suits their skin type. Despite the use of sunscreen, a lack of knowledge on usage can put you at risk of skin damage.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey of 2010, 70% of adults said that they usually or always practice at least one of the three sun-protective behaviors. These include seeking shade, using sunscreen, and wearing protective clothing.
A subsequent survey by the National Health Interview Survey in 2019 revealed that this number has increased to 74.8%. The CDC uses this data in their Skin Cancer Prevention Progress Report to formulate action plans to increase sunscreen use by U.S citizens.
The following are essential facts about sunscreen you should know before buying.
Fact #1: Not All Sunscreens Are Safe
Before shopping for sunscreen, you should know that sunscreens are not equal. Some brands provide excellent sun-blocking properties, while others use chemicals that pose harm to you and the environment. Black Girl Sunscreen formulas are paraben, oxybenzone, and octinoxate-free, making them skin, ocean, and coral-friendly.
Fact #2: Every Skin Type and Skin Tone Needs Sun Protection
Sunscreen is essential for everyone, regardless of skin type or tone. Skin damage results from exposure to the sun throughout your life. The risk of skin damage for black and brown people is as real as for those with lighter skin.
Moreover, melanated people are more likely to die of melanoma due to late discovery and a lack of precaution. Whether you tan easily or not, it is good practice to wear sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going out to keep your skin safe.
Fact #3: Your SPF Should be Broad Spectrum
Learning the facts about sunscreen helps you choose the best for your skin. Broad-spectrum sunscreen offers the best protection from UVA and UVB rays which cause premature aging and tanning. For maximum effect, use sunscreen with at least SPF30 or higher.
Fact #4: Sunscreen is not Water or Sweatproof
Water is a powerful element capable of washing off even the best skincare products. As such, no sunscreen is waterproof or sweatproof.
A waterproof label means your sunscreen offers protection for up to 40 minutes after contact with water or sweat. On the other hand, the best water-resistant sunscreens give you 80 minutes of protection after such contact.
It’s essential to learn how to apply sunscreen indoors or outdoors to ensure you’re protected at all times. As a rule of thumb, it’s safer to reapply your sunscreen every two hours after an intense workout or swimming.
Fact #5: Babies Should Stay out of Direct Sunlight
Just like life, our skin keeps changing. Children have the most vulnerable and sensitive skin. For those over six months, using some sunscreen every day is essential for skin safety. Babies younger than six months should stay out of direct sunlight. When outside, they should have sun-protective clothing and be in the shade.
If you’re in the market for the best sunscreen option for your little one, our BGS Kids Spray and Play product is a hypoallergenic and moisturizing sunscreen spray. It’s ideal for everyday use – make sure to spray the sunscreen into your hands first before lightly patting into the face. For body application you can spray directly onto your body.
Fact #6: The FDA can only Require Labeling for Ineffective SPF 2-4
Always read through the labels on your sunscreen to know what to expect when using it. Doing this helps you avoid dangerous sunscreens with inadequate SPF for your skin.
Products with SPF 2-4 are closer to body lotions than sunscreen, making them ineffective against harmful sun rays. The distribution of such products is inevitable and adequate labeling is required to ensure consumers are informed when buying.
Fact #7: SPF Numbers are Not Rigid
In skin safety, the sun protection factor (SPF) matters. SPF numbers tell you how long it would take UVB rays to damage your skin if you use your sunscreen as directed before exposure.
SPF 15 gives you 15 times more protection. SPF 30 gives you 30 times more in the sun before your skin starts tanning. The best protection is found in SPF 30 or higher as it can block out 97% of harmful sun rays.
Fact #8: Animal Testing is not Necessary
All skincare and cosmetic products are subject to animal testing before they’re released for use by humans. To this end, the New Drug Application (NDA) process requires companies to test any new ingredient used in such products before being approved by the FDA.
Sunscreen and cosmetics manufacturers do not use new products in OTC drugs, thereby exempting them from this rule.
Fact #9: Use Your Sunscreen Properly
Maximum protection requires the proper use of sunscreen. Before exposure to sun rays, wear protective clothing and shades. Liberally apply sunscreen on any exposed skin and reapply when needed to increase the effectiveness.
For safety and efficacy, use an ounce of sunscreen before exposure and reapply every two hours.
Fact #10: Your Sunscreen Does Expire
Sunscreen naturally expires. The active ingredients break down over time and make it ineffective. Most sunscreens have a window of up to three years between the date of manufacture and expiration. Always check for these dates before spending money on sunscreen to ensure what you get is ideal for the job.
If you already have a used tube in the house and can’t tell the expiry date, the color or consistency of the product gives pointers for when to stop using it. Black Girl Sunscreen proudly carries all expiration dates directly on the bottle for your convenience.