Are You Applying Sunscreen the Right Way?


A 2016 survey from the American Academy of Dermatology showed a large number of people head out into the sun this holiday weekend won’t be properly protected.

Among the surveyed, only 32 percent knew an SPF 30 sunscreen wasn't as twice as protective as SPF 15 sunscreen, and more than half thought a higher SPF sunscreen have more effective and longer protection than a lower SPF.



Those numbers aren't shocking to local dermatologists, who said people make a variety of mistakes when applying sunscreens.

But for Dr. Omar Ibrahim, medical director of the Connecticut Skin Institute of Stanford, it is still an unsettling case, since sun exposure is one of the leading causes of skin cancer – most common form of cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, about 5.4 million basal and squamous cell skin cancers are diagnosed each year. Melanoma, the deadliest variety of cancer, will account for about 76,380 cases of cancer in 2016.

Some surveys included good news wherein 85 percent of participants knew sunscreen needs to be reapplied after swimming. However, another study shows that many people aren't using sunscreen correctly, including some who are otherwise vigilant about sun protection.


In the study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, they found out that those who have history of skin cancer were more likely to seek shade, wear protective clothing and apply sunscreen that those without such history, but still got sunburned as often as those without a cancer history. Researchers said the data indicated that even those with skin caner history might not be applying sunscreen adequately.

As for a product’s SPF, Dr. Jason Wilder said beach goers and other sun lovers should use a product with an SPF of at least 30, which blocks up to 97 percent of the sun’s rays. “The difference is protection is small once you get about 30,” he said.

No matter the sunscreen’s SPF, the Academy of Dermatology recommends reapplying every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.



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