Sun protection and sunscreen Q and A

Why should I protect my skin?

Ultraviolet (UV) light causes damage to the skin. People need to be aware of the dangers of UV light to have healthy skin.

Sun can harm your skin in many ways. Too much sun can cause:

  • First and second degree burns in lighter skin tones
  • Darkening of certain skin conditions such as post inflammatory hyperpigmentation from acne and melasma
  • Early aging changes and wrinkles
  • Skin cancer
  • Flaring of some skin conditions
  • Sun damage that adds up over your lifetime

It is important to protect your skin every day, year round.

Why should people with dark skin tones use sunscreen?

People with dark skin tones need to use as much sunscreen as people with light skin tones. Dark skin tones do not burn as easily, but the damage caused by UV rays still happens with sun exposure. People with dark skin tones may have more serious problems from skin cancer than people with light skin tones due to late diagnosis. The Skin Cancer Foundation shows skin cancer in Hispanics is rising.

How do I stay out of the sun’s strong rays?

  • Do not be in the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • Stay in the shade as much as possible.
  • Stay away from surfaces that reflect the sun’s rays, such as sand, snow, and water.

How can I protect my skin from the sun?

  • Use sunscreen every day, not just during the summer.
  • Wear broad-brimmed hats, long sleeves, and pants.
  • Wear UV protection sunglasses.
  • Protect your lips by using a lip balm or lipstick that has sunscreen. Use a product with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher.
  • Use sun blocking films on your car and home windows.
  • Eat a healthy diet with vitamin supplements to get Vitamin D safely. Do not use sun exposure to boost Vitamin D levels.

What type of sunscreen should I use?

There are many brand name and generic sunscreens on the market. Use a sunscreen:

  • That protects against both UVA and UVB rays, called “broad spectrum” sunscreens
  • With SPF of 30 or higher
  • That is water-resistant or sweat-resistant if you will be in the water or sweating

How much sunscreen should I use?

  • Put sunscreen on dry skin about 15 minutes before going outside.
  • Use at least 1/2 teaspoon (2 1/2 ml) each for your face, neck, and each arm.
  • Use at least 1 teaspoon (5 ml) each for the front of your body, back of body, and each leg.
Last reviewed: 
April 2018

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