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Have You Been Using Sunscreen Wrong? Probably

One News Page Staff Thursday, 26 July 2018
Have You Been Using Sunscreen Wrong? Probablyby 👩‍💻 Stephanie Boyd

Anyone who’s dared to step outside recently – or maybe even open their eyes at all these past few weeks – will know that the summer of 2018 has been hot stuff indeed. Even the UK, where weather is infamously temperamental, has experienced weeks without rain and a heatwave that’s been breaking all kinds of records. Therefore, anyone daring to venture out into the sun will have hopefully been slapping on the sunscreen – but how much is enough? According to recent reports, certain studies claim that most of us aren’t nearly doing enough to protect our skin against the harmful rays of the sun.

Typical sunscreen application, according to a recent study published in Acta Dermato-Venereologica, is far from offering enough protection against the sun. It’s being suggested that significant protection from the sun’s rays based on topical sunscreen application is only achievable if it is offered in thickness of around 2.0 milligrams – and, on average, we seem to be applying short of that at around 0.75 milligrams. Professor Antony Young, of King’s College London, suggests that in order to balance a thin layer of sunscreen application, people should instead be focusing on purchasing creams and lotions offering a higher SPF rating, or Sun Protection Factor. SPFs are reportedly graded based upon the assumption that at least 2.0 milligrams – and it’s very likely that neither you nor I are using anywhere near enough.

“People are typically getting much less protection than they think,” Professor Young advises. “For example, if you get SPF20 and use at a lower thickness of 0.75 milligrams per centimeter squared, your level of protection could be as low as SPF4.” Certainly, the mathematics makes sense – does this mean that most of us will need to start looking at higher ratings for our sunscreen moving forward? “There is no dispute that sunscreen provides important protection against the cancer-causing impact of the sun’s ultraviolet rays – however, what this research shows is that the way sunscreen is applied plays an important role in determining how effective it is,” Young confirms.

Study: Most Users Aren't Putting On Enough Sunscreen
Study: Most Users Aren't Putting On Enough Sunscreen

It therefore appears to be more important than ever to go as high as possible when it comes to be picking out the right sunscreen – while we may only have a few more weeks of summer left, that’s still plenty of time to get sunburn – so lather on the sunscreen as much as possible!

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