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Does SPF 100 = 100% Sun Protection?

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
6/15/2009 11:00 AM   :  147 comments

See More: news, health, tips, summer, sunscreen,
I've become a sunscreen connoisseur by necessity.

I should have been born during the Victorian era. With my incredibly pale skin and inability to withstand hot weather (I've passed out on more than one outing to amusement parks or outdoor festivals despite proper shade and hydration), I am better suited to recline on a chaise lounge, one hand clutching a cool drink or silk fan and the other pressed to my forehead in melodramatic fashion.

But while a cultural anachronism I might be, I'm no wilting flower and love being active outdoors during nice weather. That means that before I think about heading outside any time of year, I'm quick to slather myself in sunscreen.

I wear Neutrogena Healthy Defense (SPF 45) on my face year-round, and since junior high, I reach for the highest SPF on the shelf for the rest of my body.

A decade or so ago, the highest SPF was 25 or 30. Then 45 was tops for a few years, soon followed by 55, 60, and in 2008, Coppertone's 70+--the highest ever. This year, Neutrogena's 100+ hit the market.

All those numbers can be confusing. Is higher always better? What should you know about sunscreen?


Sunscreen is rated by SPF, or sun protection factor, a measure of how much the product shields you from the sun’s shorter ultraviolet B rays, which can cause sunburn.

According to a recent New York Times story, "The difference in UVB protection between an SPF 100 and SPF 50 is marginal. Far from offering double the blockage, SPF 100 blocks 99 percent of UVB rays, while SPF 50 blocks 98 percent. (SPF 30, that old-timer, holds its own, deflecting 96.7 percent)."

No sunscreen, even SPF 100+, can offer 100% sun protection, and in 2007, the FDA actually considered capping SPF at 50.

So while it's true that you can ward off sunburns for a little longer if you wear the higher SPFs, there are a few other factors that come into play.



1. Amount: More important than the kind of sunscreen you use is how much you apply. You need an ounce (a shot glass worth) of sunscreen to get the full SPF advertised. That 3-ounce tube shouldn't last all summer. It should last a day or two at the beach. Most of us use significantly less than recommended.

Applying half the amount doesn't give you half the SPF. It gives you far less, according to that NYT article.

And remember that you should reapply every two hours, even on cloudy days, and know that water, snow and sand all amplify the effects of the sun.

2. Ingredients: The American Dermatological Association recommends that consumers "generously apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 to all exposed skin. Broad-spectrum provides protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Re-apply approximately every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating." This list of sunscreens is approved by the ADA, and Consumer Reports has recently released its top picks for sunscreen.

3. Exposure Just because you're wearing SPF 100+ doesn't mean you can stay in direct sunlight all day long. If you're going to be outside, seek shade when possible, and wear long sleeves, sunglasses a wide-brimmed hat and pants.

Find more sunscreen facts and tips here.





Still not convinced you need sunscreen?

There are 1 million new cases of skin cancer this year, and as Grey's Anatomy fans learned last season, melanoma and skin cancers can be quite serious. I'm 28, and I've already had one precancerous mole removed, and two friends who are my age have had skin cancer removed.

I take sun protection very seriously.

That made me mighty unpopular at the small-town pool where I spent my summers. While everyone else basted their bodies with baby oil and coconut-scented tanning cream, I pulled out my giant bottle of SPF infinity
I learned the hard way that one cannot just "get a tan," despite the relentless urging of my peers.

Growing up, my mom slathered us head to toe 15 minutes before heading outside, made us coat our noses in zinc oxide, and refused to let us head to the pool before 1 p.m.--to avoid peak sun exposure.

Then came adolescence, peer pressure and the nicknames: Powder, Casper, Morticia… Hollywood in the early '90s was not exactly helping to boost the popularity of alabaster skin.

So I decided to ignore my mother's sage advice. The Saturday before Memorial Day in 1995, I went off to the pool with my friends--and some contraband: my stepmom's SPF 4 tropical oil. Head to toe, I smelled like a pina colada and glistened like a raw chicken. I turned over in my lounge chair and kept basting my body every 30 minutes. Four hours later, I was done. I felt like a barbecued chicken left on the grill too long.

It was a long and painful weekend. I lay in bed, slept and cried. No home remedy could soothe my skin. My parents, who wanted to ground me for being so irresponsible, knew I'd learned a valuable, albeit excruciating, lesson.

The skin on my chest and back was raw and blistered, and I had to wear baggy T-shirts the entire weekend and lie on cool, wet towels. I took countless cold showers, crying as the water stung and soothed my skin. I tried vinegar compresses, yogurt, oatmeal and plenty of aloe. My decolletage and neck were never the same--still thicker than the rest of my skin and quite sensitive.

From then on, I obeyed my mother's advice and wore sunscreen, stayed out of the sun during peak hours, and in later years, started wearing a wide-brimmed hat and a coverup when out of the pool.

I've gotten minor burns, but I've never intentionally spent time in the sun without protection.

Do you wear sunscreen regularly? Do you avoid the sun? Are you worried about sun exposure?

Curious about vitamin D and sun exposure? Learn about the sunshine vitamin here.




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Comments

  • 97
    I am an old pro at sunscreen, being one of those people who burn looking at a tropical poster. My best friends have been Banana Boat and Hawaiian Tropic, 30 and 45 strength, and I have a hat with a large brim in front and a cape in back, to protect my neck, and a tie to keep it from blowing off. That helps also. They just discontinued my favorite spray-on Banana Boat SPF 30 which was a pump spray and was fantastic! - 6/16/2009   3:01:36 PM
  • 96
    Haha, I ranted about this on my blog recently. I am not only incredibly easy to sunburn, I'm also allergic to UVA rays, which cause me to break out in tiny immensely painful boils. I am the sort of person who has to put on sunscreen to drive to the store on a sunny day--usually SPF 60. Some summers I seem to be more sensitive than others, but for the most part my limit of being out in the sun is a few hours, longer than that and my hands will start to break out, I'll get nauseated and need to stay inside for several days to recover. I heard all the nicknames when I was a kid--and was frequently asked if I am albino--and I really did let it get to me, back then.
    I tried every kind of tan-in-a-bottle imaginable but eventually decided being white was better than being orange. I have learned to accept my alabaster cancer-free skin and embrace it as a part of me. The other day my boss commented about how ghastly pale I am. I told her, ''I accepted this about myself a long time ago, but I wish OTHERS would accept it too.'' She laughed, but she got the point. When you're looking at all those photos of glistening, tanned atheletes, remember that health comes in many different shades! - 6/16/2009   2:56:11 PM
  • 95
    I have fair skin, but I'm allergic to a LOT of sunblocks. So far, I haven't found any SPF greater than 15 that I can use, and a lot of them break me out. Always fun at the beginning of the spring to test a dollop on the inside of my elbows and see what breaks me out. - 6/16/2009   2:28:15 PM
  • 94
    Despite having fair skin and burning easily I must admit to being good but not great about taking care of my skin. Since being tan is still the fashion over pale skin, I'm often worn a lower SPF sunscreen than I should. Now I am having to deal with having a pre-cancerous spot on my face removed. You can bet that I will be more careful from now on. :-\ - 6/16/2009   1:33:34 PM
  • 93
    Since I can burn after a short time in the sun, even with SPF 50, I cover up most of the time. I've also started using SPF 70. - 6/16/2009   12:47:53 PM
  • 92
    I am very fair and can burn in seeminly no sun at all, plus there is a family history of skin cancer on both sides. As I teen, I did like to "get some sun" but now, nope, not at all.
    My facial moisturizer is SPF15, and is applied everyday on my face, neck, ears and down onto my chest. Any foundations I use also provide SPF protection. I've recently started applying sunscreen to my arms and hands every morning ~~ I have an hour drive to work and as it's gotten warmer, my sleeves have gotten shorter. Also, if I'm going to be out for any great amount of time, I wear a widebrimmed hat to further protect my scalp, face and neck.
    I understand the complaints about slimy sunscreen; I use Neutrogena and I don't think it feels slimy at all. In fact, my skin just feels smooth and soft. And the fragrance is very light and not unpleasant.

    A bonus: My husband frequently comments on how soft and smooth my skin is and how I look younger than my age because my skin is so nice ~~ I attribute to staying out of the sun as much as possible and protecting my skin when I am out. - 6/16/2009   12:47:14 PM
  • SLAMBARRI
    91
    I am Mexican and have fair skin. When I was younger I used to bake myself in the sun because I liked the way I looked tanned. I never burned, so I thought it was ok. Well, when I was 15 the doctor discover skin cancer on my face. I was lucky that it wasn't melanoma, but basal cell. Now I am glad I had basal cell because if it wasn't for that, I would have continued to lay out in the sun and it would have become melanoma. Now my boyfriend laughs and says that I'm "obsessed with sunblock". I think everyone should be. - 6/16/2009   12:43:19 PM
  • 90
    She's got the idea- UVA/UVB protection is better than just one or the other:

    TEACHERMOMFIVE
    6/16/2009
    10:35:40 AM

    I am a fair and freckly redhead, so sunscreen is a must. Unfortunately, we have iron in our water. The oxybenzone in almost all sunscreens chemically combines with the iron to ruin my clothes! I finally found a sunscreen called Blue Lizard at CVS that does not contain oxybenzone. On the label it says, "UVA/UVB protection, SPF 30+, chemical & fragrance free, dermatologist recommended." It contains zinc oxide & titanium dioxide. For 3 oz, it was about $10. So far my clothes have not been stained, so it was worth it! - 6/16/2009   12:32:15 PM
  • 89
    Anything that changes your natural skin color is damaging it, yes, even a tan. Possibly more so than a burn because a tan apparently gives people a false sense of security. A tan does not give you a super power shield against the sun's rays, against skin cancer, against a sunburn. I spent about a year working in a tanning salon, and believe me, we knew we were lying to people!! There is no such thing as a safe tan. PLEASE use sunscreen 100% of the time!! Even under clothing- most clothing does not protect you from the sun either unless it is special UV clothing. Please, please please protect yourself!! Would you rather sit and bake for 10-15 minutes in early spring, or would you like to be able to take your kids and grandkids outdoors later in life because you practice safe sun? - 6/16/2009   12:29:47 PM
  • 88
    I do wear sunscreen, Clinique's Superdefense which only has an SPF of 25 but I only use it on my face and I also wear foundation over it and I avoid the sun!
    I had Basal Cell Carcinoma removed from my lip a few years ago. That is the 1st, and least serious, of the 3 skin cancers. Since then I bought a variety of wide brimmed hats and sunscreen material hats and have cut back on my outdoor time!
    I also like the Neutrogena facial sunscreen mentioned in the article, it's a lot less expensive than Clinique. - 6/16/2009   12:19:10 PM
  • 87
    I love pale skin and think this emphasis on changing our skin colour is just another example of all the silly things we do to ourselves. I see pale people using tanner to darken and darker ladies using creams to lighten. Enjoy who you are and take care of your skin. - 6/16/2009   12:03:38 PM
  • 86
    Living in Texas, I don't have to work to get a tan. I kept one year round just from everyday outdoor activity. Different people have different skin composition and mine is not easily prone to burning. I use a daily facial moisturizer with SPF 15 and if I am going to be around sand or water I will use SPF 30 on exposed areas. Since I don't sweat much due to a metabolic disorder, usually a single application is all I need. - 6/16/2009   11:52:50 AM
  • GIANT-STEPS
    85
    One thing I like to point out is that skin cancer rates did not go down since sunscreens became popular.

    I take the middle ground. I like to get a little tan so I can work or lounge an hour outside unprotected without burning. After that I slather on the sunscreen. I've had a few pre-cancerous spots removed from my bald head so I always wear a brimmed hat whenever I'm outside for more than a few minutes. - 6/16/2009   11:51:06 AM
  • 84
    "Do you wear sunscreen regularly? Do you avoid the sun? Are you worried about sun exposure? " Three yeses. I wear my hat and UV protective gloves when I go outside. I actually hate sunny days... - 6/16/2009   11:49:23 AM
  • 83
    Yes, skin cancer is very serious. I presoanlly don't understand people who lay out in the sun. I am very light skinned myself. And I don't stand out in the sun too long. I went to Ormond Beach Flordia for vacation. (Was there the last two weeks of May). I was happy to get to walk through the ocean waves the day before we went home. However, I could only stand out there a few minutes. It was already getting hot and I can burn real easy. I have a question for you. What kind of sunscreen should I use? Like I mentioned earlier I don't lay out in the sun or play sports. However, I do go for walks and help with VBS when I don't have a test coming up. Any suggestions would be welcomed. Have a good day! GeorgiaGirl 26 - 6/16/2009   11:39:52 AM
  • INNOCENCELOST
    82
    If I know that I am going to be spending time in the sun- cookouts, going to the pool, etc. I will wear sunscreen, but I don't wear it everyday. I sit out for 10-15 minutes at a time in early spring to get a little bit of color to protect me from burning later in the year, but I don't get tan at all. - 6/16/2009   10:49:45 AM
  • 81
    I live in Colorado and understand the importance of sunscreen, but I wear it only when I have to and only for as long as I have to. As soon as I put it on, all I want to do is wash it off. I can't stand the way it feels on my skin, all greasy and slimy. Can anyone recommend a brand that won't make me feel like a greasy slimeball? I use lotion regularly, but there's something different about the way sunscreen feels that I just can't stand. - 6/16/2009   10:48:53 AM
  • 80
    Thanks for the great article, I think by now everyone should know how dangerous it is but I like alot of people just love to feel the heat. I am not a big sunscreen fan but I'm trying to change my thinking. Up until my late 30's I was a "Fake Baker", loved the tanning salon. Haven't been there since I had my daughter, she is 2 1/2 now and I do use Coppertone SPF 50 Water Babies on her but I question the effectiveness of these products as she is still getting tan. - 6/16/2009   10:40:39 AM
  • 79
    I am a fair and freckly redhead, so sunscreen is a must. Unfortunately, we have iron in our water. The oxybenzone in almost all sunscreens chemically combines with the iron to ruin my clothes! I finally found a sunscreen called Blue Lizard at CVS that does not contain oxybenzone. On the label it says, "UVA/UVB protection, SPF 30+, chemical & fragrance free, dermatologist recommended." It contains zinc oxide & titanium dioxide. For 3 oz, it was about $10. So far my clothes have not been stained, so it was worth it! - 6/16/2009   10:35:40 AM
  • DIET_NO_MORE
    78
    (Note to Stepfanie: I'm a real fan of your writing! Re "smelled like a pina colada and glistened like a raw chicken" - wow!! My parents were from an older generation, which associated deep tans with health. In their eighties, they were constantly checking in with the dermatologist to have basal-cell carcinomas removed... Being a Morticia type myself, I avoid the sun as much as possible but wear SPF 30 for incidental exposure :) - 6/16/2009   10:18:00 AM
  • 77
    I use Oil of Olay with SPF on my face and Lubriderm with SPF15 on the rest of my body daily. That's just for "incidental exposure," i.e., going from the house to the car, the car to the office. If I am out walking, biking, hiking, watching my son's soccer game, or doing yard work, I will slather on whatever SPF we have in the house (it ranges from SPF30 to 70). I have fair skin that tans a little, but mostly freckles. I haven't lain out to PURPOSELY tan since high school, and when I'm outside I'm generally in a hat. I, too, have a sister who visits the tanning booth regularly, which I think is foolish. I am thinking of having a dermatologist check my skin annually, though, to make sure I haven't got any problem areas.

    I'll avoid the sun from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the summer, on very hot days (over 90 degrees), but I'm also likely to be swimming, hiking, or biking on those weekends in the middle of the day. I try to be places where there is lots of shade and ways to stay cool from the sun if it's very hot. I have three redheads living with me (my husband and his twins - boy and a girl), so we know a lot about covering up with Tshirts, wearing hats, and using lots of sunscreen. I have two teenaged daughters who tan easily and have brown hair, and I practically have to SIT on them to get them to use SPF lotion. They think that they don't need it because they don't burn. I'm working on educating them, though! - 6/16/2009   9:47:04 AM
  • 76
    My sister passed away on April 1st, 2009 from Skin Cancer. She was only 30 years old and fought it for 7 hard years. People don't realize how SERIOUS of an issue this is. Tanning beds CAN kill you....they are one of the reasons my sister is gone! - 6/16/2009   9:41:50 AM
  • 75
    It's just part of my daily rountine. Living in Phoenix, we use sunscreen year round. - 6/16/2009   9:24:09 AM
  • 74
    My friend told me about this...for some instant relief from a burn...keep 'Milk of Magnesea' (sure it misspelled) in the fridge. It definitely helps when you have over done it in the sun. I've tried this and it did help.
    I don't sun bath like I use to. Any sun I do get is when I either walk or work in the garden. - 6/16/2009   9:21:12 AM
  • 73
    Hate the stuff but working hard to change that attitude, especially w/ 2 kids who love the pool.... - 6/16/2009   9:02:26 AM
  • 72
    I use it. My only problem is how MUCH it costs.

    I really wish they would make it more affordable, seeing as how frequently you end up buying it. - 6/16/2009   8:33:11 AM
  • 71
    I have very badly sundamaged skin too.When I was young, we would go to the beach and 'sunbaked' all day. Last Friday I went to the skin cancer clinic for my annual checkup and the doctor told me he is surprised that he has not had to "cut anything out yet' but patted my skin and said I was very lucky as I must have good genes! Thank God for my Mediterranean upbringing. I now try and be conscious of wearing sunscreen. A lot of people think that by using the higher SPF that they get more protection but not so. You must put enough on the skin.
    Here in sunny Queensland we have one of the highest incidence rates of skin cancer and there is a big campaign to teach the children at primary school level to use sunscreen and the 'no hat- no play' policy. - 6/16/2009   8:28:45 AM
  • 70
    I live in Florida and do use Neutroena (not the latest yet). I also make it a point to try to stay out of the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. when it is most dangerous. That doesn't mean I run to the pool at 3:05 but skin cancer is prevalent here. So why not do my best to prevent it. I also recommend yearly checkups by your dematologist. - 6/16/2009   8:12:43 AM
  • 69
    I am working very hard at improving my habits on sunscreen. I always make the mistake that when I am out in the morning I tell myself to make sure that I apply sunscreen when it starts to warm up. But by the time I remember, it's too late. Though this past weekend when I took the kids to an amusement park, we all did a lot better than in past years. - 6/16/2009   8:03:26 AM
  • 68
    I am a burner! I wear sunscreen and still end up pink... When I was a kid I never thought much about it and spent hours and hours outside. I knew, heading out the door, that I probably would end up with a sunburn, but I thought that was the price you paid for enjoying outdoor activities. I couldn't help but notice that so many people, when they end up with a bad sunburn spend time taking cold showers and wrapping up in ice... A better method is to use tea. The tannins in tea will actually help 'pull' the burn out and soothe your tortured skin. Make HOT tea, cool it to lukewarm or room temperature and then soak cotton fabric (this will ruin anything you use, so make sure to use something you don't care about!) in the tea and wrap it around the sunburned area. I had a seriously bad sunburn one year and I spent hours, wrapped like a mummy, in tea soaked sheets, but by the next day I was less sore and was able to move and resume normal, inside, activities! It is better to avoid the sunburn, but when it occurs, 'a cup of tea' really does work. - 6/16/2009   8:01:07 AM
  • 67
    I always use a minimum of SPF 20, even here in the north of the UK, and have done since I was a teenager after I suffered a bad case of sunburn even though I had used SPF15+ and re-applied every 2 hours. I have fair skin and although I do tan, it takes a long time and I am happy with that. My son also uses sunscreen and wears a hat at school and when we go out. In fact, he is often the one to remind me when we go on a day out that we need to put it on!

    I also use a moisturiser which has an SPF of 15 in it. In the UK I don't really need higher than that except in the height of Summer when we'll be lucky to get about 10 days of the year with really nice, hot weather. Then I'll put a factor 30 face sunscreen on and wear a hat.

    When we go on holiday to hotter climates, I use a minimum of SPF30 and will sometimes go up to SPF50. - 6/16/2009   7:56:33 AM
  • 66
    Something else to remember is that medications can alter your sensitivity to the sun's rays. I found this out the hard way. I only take one medication, which helps control my blood pressure. Since I started taking it, my skin can burn pretty badly in less than an hour if i'm not wearing sunscreen. I love that they developed a spray-on sunblock - so much easier to apply, that there is really isn't any excuse for me not to protect myself.

    Year round I use a moisturizer with an SPF of 15 and a base makeup with an 8 SPF. In the summer when I'm out in the gardens a lot, I use a 45 SPF spray-on for my arms, neck, and chest. I don't wear shorts much, so my legs are usually protected anyway.

    I also wear a wide-brimmed hat and big sunglasses when I garden. Not only does that help keep my face from getting too much sun, it also helps me keep from squinting in the sun and getting more than my fair share of facial wrinkles.

    I love being in the sun, but I hate getting sunburned. - 6/16/2009   7:18:54 AM
  • 65
    My husband has had multiple skin cancers removed and he is now covered with scars. He had a bad one on his face and they had to remove his lower eyelid. I have had two removed -- one on my chest and one right above my upper lip. Now I have big white scars that I can't even begin to cover up. Now I wear a face lotion by Olay that has 30 spf every day and I put it on my neck and chest, too. After work and before water aerobics, I put a lot more on my face, neck, shoulders and arms.

    Once you have visible scars, you will wish that you wore sunscreen and hats when you were younger.
    - 6/16/2009   7:09:10 AM
  • 64
    I usually only wear sunscreen when I go to the beach, or when I know I will be outside in the sun for a long time, like when I'm hiking or something. But then I use at least LSF 40+ or I will still get burnt!
    On a day-to-day basis I only use a facial cream with sunscreen.

    I'm really white and my skin hardly ever tans, partly because I stay out of the sun, partly because when I do spend time in the sun I wear sunblocker and ... well ... I'm just so white! I don't even get any freckles!

    My aunt and uncle, who are dark and tan easily, always tease me because even after a beach holiday, I'm white as white can be. Even after a week in the sun only my lower arms and face will take a colour that looks normal instead of pale. But I'd rather stay white than have leathery skin when I get older! A bit of a tan might look nice, but is it worth the risk of getting burnt?

    My mum always made sure I wore clothes and lots of sunblocker when I was little. Even IN the water she made me wear a t-shirt! Some people might have thought that was over-the-top, but I would have gotten burnt for sure otherwise... I might have dark eyes, but I was always very pale and used to have REALLY blond hair aswell. - 6/16/2009   6:44:53 AM
  • 63
    i am guilty. i was raised on a lake and i was a lifeguard for years. even using the highest spf i tan dark and fast. odd for being blue eyed and blonde. I hate heat though, and if i am outside in the summer its because i'm in the water. which is alot of the time.
    as i said,,,no matter how much sunblock i put on (and yes i use waterproof) i still tan fast.... - 6/16/2009   6:42:55 AM
  • 62
    Scientific evidence, and as advised by most dermatologists, does not show any increase in safety in products with higher than SPF 30.

    Our local ABC station (ABC-6 in RI) sponsors a program at 5 beaches during the summer (since RI IS the Ocean State...with more coastline than even California) called "Sun Smarts." Dermatological residents and a dermatologist from a local hospital perform exposed skin screenings for any beachgoer who presents him/herself. Once examined, the person is told whether or not they have something that needs further exam. At the end of the screening, educational info is provided by the Rhode Island Cancer Council along with Sun Safety coloring books for kids...A nurse reviews what the MD has noted and giveaways are available. This is a great program since RI has one of the highest skin cancer rates in the country. - 6/16/2009   6:42:19 AM
  • 61
    My mother tanned easily and never realised that my fair skin was much more sensitive than hers. I went through agonies in childhood - yes, even in Britain you can burn easily in the summer. Now I avoid going out in the middle of the day and wear sunscreen if I have to. I have even convinced my husband not to let himself burn and peel as he always used to. The great thing is that avoiding the sun has kept my skin more youthful. If people who think tanning is a sign of health only looked at the skin of those who have spent a lifetime in the sun, they might change their minds. - 6/16/2009   4:45:23 AM
  • 60
    My first and only sunburn occured on an overcast day. I was walking the seawall in Corpus Christi, Texas. That night I was puuzzled because my back and shoulders were stinging. I could not figure what was wrong because I had only walked along the shore for most of the day. I wore glasses and a hat. I never used sunscreen because I eroneousIy believed the people of color would not burn, plus it was not really sunny. I actually did not realized I had a sunburn until a couple of days later when my back began to peel. From then on I used sunscreen whenever I was at the beach, water parks, gardening or anywhere outdoors for a long period of time. - 6/16/2009   3:08:47 AM
  • 59
    Oh yes always! I'm fair skinned and I live in Australia. Even in the winter, if its sunny, I burn so I still wear my sunscreen and hat. I'm even more vigilant now after having a melanoma removed. - 6/16/2009   2:34:13 AM
  • 58
    When I was young my mother (a nurse) was adament about sunscreen. My dad on the other hand... was NOT... THEY were divorced and dad lived close to the beach in FL. I came home from a weekend at dad's, more than once, blistered and physically ill as a result. I've learned that I don't tan, never will... I BURN/BLISTER and FRECKLE... NOW, brightness triggers migraines for me, as well. I actually do avoid direct sun at all cost... I should take out stock in DARK sunglasses. My moisturizer has protection and I stay pretty covered... hat, glasses, clothes with COVERAGE... sunscreen when needed. My 18 yr old sun calls me "CREATURE of the NIGHT" because I prefer being inside and keeping it somewhat dark... I'm also an insomniac... - 6/16/2009   12:38:45 AM
  • 57
    I found out that having pigment in my skin does not keep me from getting burned. I mistakenly thought African-Americans didn't need sun block. - 6/15/2009   11:53:28 PM
  • 56
    I actually love my pale white skin and lather on the sunscreen as well year round - my mother would lather me with suncreen and then make me wear a t-shirt over my swimsuit as well and I would still burn. Dark tans remind me of burnt cookies - a tan is a response from the body due to DNA damage, I don't understand why anyone would do that to themselves. I lather my children up too, my MIL would roll her eyes and complain that the kids are too pale - she has just been diagnosed with skin cancer, I wonder if she has changed her tune? - 6/15/2009   11:19:53 PM
  • 55
    I'm fairskinned, too, and when I was 18, I got the mother of all sunburns. All day at the beach in just a one-piece; when we left, the skin that one-piece covered was the only part of me that wasn't crimson. My mom and sister helped me in and out of an ice water-filled tub while my stepdad prepared towels soaked in cold water and wrapped around ice to pack me in once they got me back in bed. The blisters varied in size from quarters to bigger than saucers. I was in misery for a week. Never again have I ventured out into the sun without protection and I've been incredibly lucky that my skin seems to have no lasting effects from that episode. - 6/15/2009   10:51:12 PM
  • 54
    I'm all about the sunscreen! Even with SPF 50 applied every hour, I got a burn in Mexico. I almost never lay without shade, hat, and a t-shirt! - 6/15/2009   10:43:46 PM
  • 53
    I learned my lesson when I was 15 & burned badly. Never again did I go out without protections wear it daily in & higher when I am out!!! - 6/15/2009   10:37:30 PM
  • 52
    My sister lives in Florida and doesn't bother with sun protection, but she is not a sun worshipper either. I live in Wisconsin, but do wear sunscreen going outside, and on my face always. I am older than her, but look significantly younger.
    Even if you think you'll never get skin cancer - just think about how your skin looks. :-) - 6/15/2009   10:29:36 PM
  • 51
    I don't remember to put sunscreen on as much as I should. I am better when I have the grandkids and they are going out to spend time outside. I remember them of course! - 6/15/2009   10:27:12 PM
  • 50
    I use to sunbathe regularly......At 81 my Daddy has had over 35 basal cell carcinomas (skin cancers) removed and 1 melanoma.He took a break for 1 year from seeing his Dermatologist and went back 2 months ago.....he is scheduled for 7 more skin biopsies.As a young boy he was a real Huck Finn and as a young man a real outdoorsman.Do I wear sunscreen?Everyday.Do I sunbathe?Never!But my sister is a tanorexia...she starts sunbathing in April and doesn't stop still the snow falls!At Easter time she looks like she comes from Jaimaca!People just never learn!!!!! - 6/15/2009   9:57:54 PM
  • 49
    I wear sunscreen daily...whether or not I will be in the sun. My moisturizer now has a 45 SPF...not too bad! - 6/15/2009   9:18:06 PM
  • 48
    BOOKGODDES: There main chemicals in sunblock are Parsol 1789 (avobenzone, I think is how you spell the chemical name), which blocks UVA and oxtyl salicylate and cinnamates for UVB. You can do some research on those chemicals, but they are pretty safe if you are a healthy person. - 6/15/2009   7:43:29 PM

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