Just like baseball gloves, water skis, golf clubs or fishing poles, sunscreen is an important addition to the equipment you use to enjoy yourself outdoors.

It is important to remember that sunscreen does not provide total protection. Reflective surfaces like water, snow, and sand can actually cause exposure to more UV rays.

Experts recommend sunscreen products with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 15. The number of the SPF represents the level of sunburn protection provided by the sunscreen. An SPF 4 blocks out 75 percent of the sun's burning UV rays, an SPF 15 blocks out 93 percent, and an SPF 30 blocks out 97 percent of the burning UV rays.

It is important to remember that sunscreen does not provide total protection. Reflective surfaces like water, snow, and sand can actually cause exposure to more UV rays. For high-glare situations, a higher SPF sunscreen or zinc oxide may be used on your nose and lips.

Apply Sunscreen Properly

  • Generously apply sunscreen 20 to 30 minutes before going outside
  • Most sunscreens need to be reapplied about every 2 hours.
  • If swimming or perspiring, don't forget to reapply sunscreen to maintain protection
  • Remember that sunscreen usually rubs off when you towel yourself dry.
  • Use lipbalm with an SPF 15 or higher

Read The Label

When shopping for sunscreen, look for the ingredients Parasol or Zinc Oxide. These two ingredients have shown to provide the highest levels of UV protection.

Products labeled "waterproof" provide protection for at least 80 minutes even when swimming or sweating. Products that are "water resistant" may provide protection for only 40 minutes.

Most sunscreen products expire within 2 to 3 years, but you should check the expiration date on the container for the date it becomes ineffective.