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Survey Shows Consumers Need Sunscreen Education

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The American Academy of Dermatology conducted a survey of 1,000 U.S. adults, and found that 80% of Americans know that they should apply sunscreen every two hours when outdoors; however, only 33% typically reapply it, while 42% either do not reapply sunscreen at all or reapply it only when they get wet.

In addition, 30% of respondents apply sunscreen only to their faces and not to other areas of their bodies.

“As family and friends get together outdoors this holiday weekend and throughout the summer, we want to remind everyone to practice safe sun, which includes seeking shade, wearing sun-protective clothing, and applying sunscreen every two hours when outdoors, or after swimming or sweating, to all skin not protected by clothing,” says board-certified dermatologist Henry W. Lim, MD, FAAD, former chair of the department of dermatology at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. “Reapplication is key along with understanding SPF. Many people mistakenly assume that they can apply the sunscreen with the highest SPF rating and then stay out in the sun all day without reapplying; however, SPF is a measurement of how well a sunscreen protects the skin from the sun’s UVB rays, which cause sunburn. It is not a measurement of how long someone can stay in the sun or how frequently it needs to be applied.”

AAD recommends that everyone #PracticeSafeSun by following a comprehensive sun protection plan:

  • Seek shade when appropriate, remembering that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • Wear sun-protective clothing, such as a lightweight, long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with UV protection, when possible. 
  • Apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to all skin not covered by clothing. Remember to reapply every two hours when outdoors or after swimming or sweating.