At this past Sunday’s “Parking Lot Party”, everybody had a great time…some more than others. I was there from 11am until almost midnight, and it shows…I got a bit of a sunburn. I should’ve used sunscreen, I admit. But just how good & effective is sunscreen? Here are the answers to some of the most-asked questions about sunscreen:
1. When was sunscreen invented? Chemists have been working on it since the 1930s. A guy in Austria came up with one in 1938 that only had an SPF of 2, but then we had SPF 15 by the ’70s. And the first waterproof sunblock hit stores in 1977.
2. How does sunscreen work? Well, some of the chemicals in it reflect UV rays, so they don’t hit your skin, while other chemicals absorb the rays, so that your skin doesn’t.
3. How long does it last? If you’re talking shelf life, 3 years. Or, if you mean how often should you reapply, it’s every 2 hours (especially if you’re swimming).
4. Is sunscreen bad for you? While there’s been talk that a chemical called oxybenzone might cause cancer, there’s not a lot of solid proof yet. Harvard recently made a blog post that said stats linking sunscreen to cancer are likely skewed. They pointed out that people who wear a lot of sunblock might just have a higher risk of skin cancer because they simply spend more time in the sun, not because sunscreen causes it. So, in the end, you’re better off using it than not.
5. What’s the best sunscreen? “Consumer Reports” does an annual ranking. This year’s list includes the Walmart brand Equate Sport Lotion, with an SPF of 50. They also say Hawaiian Tropic’s Sport Spray is good.
So now that you know all the pertinent stuff about sunscreen, just don’t forget to actually use it.
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