– The proper application of sunscreen is one of our main lines of defense against solar radiation, which in excess doses can be extremely harmful to human beings. Depending on
the formulation, a particular sunscreen may reflect, scatter, or absorb incoming sunlight and thus keep your vulnerable skin safe.
Our drugstore.com Sport line provides an array of lotions, sprays, and balms ideal for those who treasure long days at the beach, kayaking, trail-running, and all manner of outdoor
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Spending time out in the sun seems about as natural an activity as anything, but ultraviolent (UV) radiation can be dangerous. Two spectrums, ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B
(UVB), particularly threaten us, causing everything from sunburns and photo-damage (premature aging due to sun exposure) to skin cancer.
Despite those significant risks, many of us don't do enough to protect ourselves. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that, as of 2008, a mere 58% of U.S. adults
used sun protection - sunscreen, UV protective clothing, or avoidance - on a regular basis. As far as
young people go, a 2011 study referenced by the CDC suggested only 14.4% of girls and 7.3% of boys protected themselves with sunscreens with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or
That SPF rating of 15 is the minimum generally recommended by medical professionals, but for anyone regularly active outdoors experts suggest an SPF of 30 or greater. The scale
actually only refers to the amount of protection against UVB radiation a formula provides and doesn't explicitly reference the more deeply penetrating UVA rays. You'll want to use
sunscreens labeled "broad-spectrum," which provide the most robust defense across a harmful span of UV wavelengths - both UVA and UVB.
Many "sport" sun care products are additionally identified as water-resistant, which suggests they perform effectively for
longer in the face of wetness (from water to sweat). Such a label doesn't mean, however, that you can slather yourself in the morning and then forget about reapplying.
Indeed, regular reapplication is a fundamental component to using sunscreen properly. As a general rule of thumb,
it's a good idea to thoroughly reapply after two hours of sun exposure, and more frequently if you've gotten wet or sweaty, or if you're operating in particularly intense sunlight
conditions - as when you're boating or snowshoeing (remember that water surfaces, snow, and sand can dramatically reflect sunlight, intensifying the rays and also directing them to
you from below).
Sunscreen is most effective when applied 30 minutes before you expose yourself to UV radiation. Don't be skimpy: many dermatologists recommend using two ounces for your whole body.
Remember to cover any exposed skin, including such easy-to-forget spots as the insides of your ears or the tops of your feet; use sunscreen-equipped lip balms, too.
Don't let UV radiation keep you from paddling, running, hiking, climbing, and splashing your way to a good time - check out the Sport sunscreens available here at drugstore.com
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