Sun Protection

Hey Y’all:

I saw Steve last night and he was horrified that I had a pretty good sunburn when I came in. I had sat out in the sun for awhile that day and got quite red. He asked me if I used any sunscreen to which I said no and he asked me why since I am so health conscientious. I told him I wanted to get a tan ( the red will turn brown) and he said he tans through sunscreen.

I wasn’t so sure about that so he asked me to research SPF and sunscreen and write a Blog about it.

Summer is coming so the timing seemed right.

Based on an article from wikihow here is the difference between Sunblock and Sunscreen


Sunblock is a product that uses titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to completely block out UV rays from the sun. This means you will get no tan while wearing it. Sunscreen is a product that allows some UV rays to penetrate to the skins surface, which gives you the ability to get a slight tan.


The article goes on to give the definition of SPF as the following: Sun Protection Factor (SPF) refers to the amount of UV radiation that can saturate your sun protection to reach your skin. For example SPF 30 means that 1/30th of the sun’s UV rays are in contact with your skin. goes on to add:

The SPF rating indicates how long a sunscreen remains effective on the skin. A user can determine how long their sunblock will be effective by multiplying the SPF factor by the length of time it takes for him or her to suffer a burn without sunscreen.

For instance, if you normally develop a sunburn in 10 minutes without wearing a sunscreen, a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 will protect you for 150 minutes (10 minutes multiplied by the SPF of 15). Although sunscreen use helps minimize sun damage, no sunscreen completely blocks all wavelengths of UV light.

How to use Sunscreen and Sunblock

Use an SPF no lower than SPF15 Use two to three tablespoons of sunscreen or sunblock on your entire body, concentrating on the areas most in contact with the sun (shoulders, nose and face, arms, back). Sunscreen and sunblock must be reapplied every two hours, or after entering water.[2]

Sunblock protects your skin by absorbing (chemical sunblocks) and/or reflecting UVA and UVB radiation (physical sunblocks). reference:

Common Myths about Sun Protection:

Common Myths About Sun Protection


You can’t get a sunburn on a cloudy day.

Up to 80 percent of the UV rays that cause sun damage penetrate clouds, so your chances of getting sunburn on a cloudy day are quite high. Also, since UV rays can be reflected off of water, sand, snow, and concrete, you can even get a sunburn in the shade or when skiing on a cold, winter day. (Source: American Academy of Dermatology)

Suntanned skin is healthy.
A suntan is a sign of skin damage, just like a sunburn. (Source: American Academy of Dermatology)

Indoor tanning is a healthier way to tan than lying in the sun.

Tanning beds also emit UV rays. This kind of exposure may not show damage immediately but, over time, it can break down the skin’s collagen and elastin and can accelerate wrinkles, leathery skin and skin cancers. (Source: American Academy of Dermatology)

Wearing a t-shirt while in the sun will protect you from burning.

While clothing provides some protection, a standard white t-shirt only has an SPF of about 7. If it’s wet, the SPF can go down as low as 3. The darker and thicker the clothing, the more protection it provides. (Source: Skin Cancer Foundation)

If you have dark skin, you don’t need to use sunscreen.
Although dark skin does not burn in the sun as easily as fair skin, the sun can still damage the skin. (Source: National Cancer Institute)

You need to sunbathe to make sure you have enough Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is present in everyday foods. The American Academy of Dermatology does not recommend deliberate sun exposure for the purpose of getting Vitamin D. (Source: American Academy of Dermatology)

SPFs over 30 don’t give you more protection.

Sunscreens are rated or classified by the strength of their sun protection factor (SPF). The SPF numbers on the packaging can range from as low as 2 to greater than 50. These numbers refer to the product’s ability to deflect the sun’s burning rays (UVB). However, some sunscreens now include compounds such as titanium dioxide, zinc oxide and avobenzone which helps protect against UVA rays as well. The sunscreen SPF rating is calculated by comparing the amount of time needed to produce a sunburn on sunscreen-protected skin to the amount of time needed to cause a sunburn on unprotected skin.


Many people mistakenly think that a sunscreen with an SPF 45 rating would give three times as much protection as one with an SPF of 15. This is not true. SPF 15 sunscreens filter out about 93% of UVB rays, while SPF 30 sunscreens filter out about 97%, SPF 50 sunscreens filter 98%, and SPF 100 filter 99%. The higher you go, the smaller the difference becomes. No sunscreen protects you completely. (Source: American Academy of Dermatology)

If you’ve lathered yourself with a high SPF sunscreen, you’re fully protected from the sun.
Skin care experts recommend using a combination of sun protection tactics that include seeking shade, using sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher, and wearing UV-blocking sunglasses, a hat, and clothing that protects exposed skin. (Source: Centers for Disease Control)

What I have gathered from all this is that you can tan through sunscreen and sunblock. It seems to depend on the person but I am not convinced in my research that it isn’t because of other factors like using old lotions, not reapplying as needed or not using enough.

So, I will have to test this myself this summer, but, I do agree that the sun can be very harmful to your skin and you should use some protectant.

Question of he day: Do you use sunblock/sunscreen? Do you still get a tan?

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