Why it’s important to wear sunscreen

Why it's important to wear sunscreen

Gabby Cianfrocca, Senior Staff Writer

Did you know that only twenty-five percent of 800 tested sunscreens will protect your skin without the use of harmful ingredients?  Sunscreens must be free of oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate, and the SPF cannot be above 50. Most people don’t know that higher numbered SPFs last the same amount of time as lower numbered SPFs. When picking sunscreen, choose one with a minimum of SPF 15 and a maximum of SPF 50. Make sure labels list UVA and UVB to prevent harmful chemicals to be in contact with your skin. Some great sunscreens you can use that will do wonders at the beach or playing outdoor sports are: Tropical Sands, Aveeno, Block Island, or Burt’s Bees. These sunscreens are all natural and cover you pretty well.

According to the EPA, up to 90 percent of the visible skin changes commonly attributed to aging are caused by sun exposure. Too much sun can result in sun spots and wrinkles. The sun breaks down the elastin in our faces which helps our skin stay firm and young-looking. Skin cancer rates are also on the rise, as the NCI (National Cancer Institute) notes a little over 2 million Americans develop skin cancer each year. Half of Americans who live up to 65 will be diagnosed at least once with some kind of skin cancer.

Skin cancer isn’t too difficult to get rid of, so the earlier you catch it-the better. Most teenagers nowadays don’t use sunscreen because they think it keeps them from getting tan, which is a popular desire for teenagers. Gabi Vivero explains, “I don’t use sunscreen at the beach because I always want to tan so I use tanning oil SPF 10.” There are tanning oils that you can purchase such as Banana Boat, that help to tan your skin as well as protecting you from the harmful rays. With tanning oil, you might need to reapply more often than usual.

Reapplying is very important.  Doctors say that reapplying sunblock every 2-3 hours or after swimming can prevent harmful sunburns. Zoe Cueva, sophomore, tells us, “I usually just use tanning spray and I don’t reapply.” 

Live Science recommends that you apply your sunblock 15 minutes before you go outside. Remember that the sun is strongest at 10a.m – 2p.m. Gillian Earl, senior, explains what works best for her on sunny days, “No I don’t reapply my sunscreen but I use Neutrogena or cera VE. I get burnt easily.” Sometimes you can’t always only depend on sunscreen. Covering up, using a hat, or sitting under shade will be helpful during these hours. Up to 80% of the sun’s harmful UV rays can soak into your skin on cloudy days.