Sunscreen Safety: Dos and Don’ts


Sunscreen has a number of advantages, including lowering the risk of skin cancer and avoiding sunburns. Use these dos and don’ts to ensure that you use sunscreen safely.


An SPF (Sun Protection Factor) number appears on every sunscreen container. The SPF rating tells you how long it would take the sun’s rays to start making your skin red when using that product as opposed to not applying sunscreen. UVA and UVB are the two categories of solar radiation. UVA ages your skin and tans it because it penetrates deeper layers of your skin.

Even when it is cloudy, UVA rays can pass through windows and clouds. The top layers of skin can burn and tan when exposed to UVB radiation. UVB radiation varies throughout the day in intensity, although it is at its peak between 10 am and 2 pm. Broad-spectrum sunscreens are products that offer UVA and UVB protection.

FDA Regulation

Sunscreen is an over-the-counter (OTC) medicine in the United States, so you do not need a prescription to purchase it. In order to guarantee the safety and efficacy of the active chemicals used in sunscreens that are sold, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees the testing and labeling of sunscreen products. Ingredients must be water-resistant, offer UV protection, and maintain that protection over time. The FDA evaluates how well each product shields users from UVA and UVB rays.

To ensure that all sunscreen sales are secure and efficient, the FDA is actively updating the standards for sunscreen. A number of sunscreen-active compounds, including the aforementioned substances, are now being reviewed. The FDA advises that you keep using it since it shields you from the sun’s damaging rays until it makes a final determination about its safety.

Keep in Mind the Following Sunscreen Safety Dos and Don’ts:

Do: Choose a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30+

High SPF sunscreens do not provide you with greater protection. Nearly 97 percent of UVB rays are blocked by an SPF 30 sunscreen, 98 percent by an SPF 50, and 99 percent by an SPF 100. Your skin needs a minimum of SPF 30. But if you want to be outside for a longer period of time, use a higher SPF sunscreen.

Do: Apply sunscreen before heading outside

It might take up to 30 minutes for your skin to absorb and start shielding you from the sun’s harmful rays. This means that you should always prepare and use it for at least 30 minutes before heading outside. Moreover, be sure to use adequate sunscreen; it’s crucial!

Do: Choose a sunscreen that is suitable for your skin type

There are two types of sunscreens: chemical sunscreens (which contain compounds like octinoxate and oxybenzone that serve as sun filters) and physical sunscreens (containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that physically protects the skin). However, some people have chemical product allergies, therefore you should always test a small bit of the item on your wrist to see if you have any adverse reactions.

Do: Apply sunscreen regardless of the weather prediction

Even on cloudy days, you should use it since UV radiation can harm your skin. Use it before going on errands, going for a walk, and at all times of the year.

Don’t: Apply sunscreen only on the face

Every day, it should be applied to every inch of exposed skin. Make sure you apply it to your scalp, hands, arms, and legs as well. Due to exposure to the sun, these areas are not only susceptible to skin aging. In actuality, melanoma (skin cancer) risk is also extremely high in many bodily regions.

Don’t: Apply it once a day

It is entirely incorrect to assume that one application of sunscreen will protect you all day. It often rubs off due to perspiration or exposure to water. Every two hours, reapply it to get the greatest benefit.

Don’t: Believe that having dark skin would shield you from UV radiation

Do you genuinely think that the reason your skin is darker is that it is less prone to skin cancer? Or do you believe that, compared to people with fair skin, you do not require as much sunscreen? No! Absolutely Not. The truth is that everyone is susceptible to UVA and UVB radiation which leads to skin cancer and outward indications of aging. Hence, regardless of skin tone, always wear this.


While keeping in mind these sunscreen dos and don’ts can protect your skin, it is also strongly advised to keep your skin as covered as possible. This safeguards you against skin conditions arising due to sun exposure.