The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend wearing a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 for everyday use. SPF, which stands for sun protection factor, refers to the amount of sun protection offered by the product. An SPF of 15, for example, means you can be in the sun 15 times longer without burning than you would with no protection. However, 15 times longer means different things to different people. Someone with an olive complexion who wears an SPF of 15 may be able to tolerate the sun for an hour before burning, while someone with a fair complexion may only be able to tolerate sun exposure for 20 minutes. Those who burn easily should consider wearing an SPF higher than 15, but be aware that protection against ultra violet rays does not rise proportionately with SPF number.
When choosing a sunscreen, look for those that protect against UVA and UVB radiation. Be sure to apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going in the sun and to follow directions for reapplying throughout the day.
For more information on skin protection or to schedule an appointment with an East Jefferson General Hospital dermatologist call HealthFinder at (504)-456-5000 or visit us online at www.ejgh.org.