Why is sun protection important?
Skin Cancer is growing at alarming rates. 2007 Statistics from the American Cancer Society show that:
- 1 in every 5 Americans will develop skin cancer at some point during their lifetime
- 5 or more sunburns during your lifetime doubles your risk of developing skin cancer
- Sun protection is especially important in children because sunburns in early life can lead to skin cancer in adulthood.
80% of lifetime sun damage occurs in childhood.
*Kids rarely allow proper sunscreen application when they play outdoors, ride bikes, go to recess or play on the playground.
- Melanoma is the second most common cancer in women ages 20-29;1 person dies almost every hour (every 67 minutes) from this disease.
- Both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays can cause skin cancer. You can protect your skin and eyes in many different ways including sunscreen, seeking the shade, hats, sunglasses and sun protective/ultraviolet light protective clothing.
What is SPF? SPF stands for “Sun Protection Factor.” The rating is based on using 1 ounce of product per full body application.
So if your bottle of sunscreen is 4 ounces that means you would use about ¼ of that bottle to get that rating each time you use it all over!
Are you using enough sunscreen? For a majority of us, the answer is no.
- Currently, sunscreens are measured by their sun protection factor (SPF) which is only a measure of UVB protection. Make sure your sunscreen says it is broad-spectrum and also protects against harmful UVA rays.
- Statistically, most people only use about 1/3 of the recommended amount of sunscreen. For example, if you were to apply an SPF 30 sunscreen to your skin, the actual volume of sunscreen that is typically used is only equal to an SPF 10.
- So it is important to realize that with sunscreen, the number on the label is not necessarily the amount of protection you’re actually receiving. Using a higher number SPF sunscreen helps increase your chances of getting enough sun protection.
- *Remember that water, humidity, and sweating decrease the effectiveness of sunscreen and numerous reapplications are necessary.
What is sun protective/ultraviolet light clothing?
- Normal summer clothing does not fully protect your skin from the sun. They rate less than SPF 8 when wet.
- The clothing uses fabric to protect your skin from damaging UVA & UVB rays and can be worn instead of using sunscreen on those areas.
- But don’t forget to wear sunscreen on the uncovered areas like the neck and ears.
- The fabric is rated according to an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (“UPF”) similar to “SPF” for Sunscreen.
What is the difference between UPF and SPF?
- UPF is like SPF except UPF rates fabric protection against both UVA and UVB.
- A garment with a UPF of 50 only allows 1/50th of the UV radiation falling on the surface of the garment to pass through it. In other words, it blocks 49/50ths or 98% of the UV radiation. Factors such as tighter knit or weave, thickness, and dark color can increase UPF.
What are the benefits of sun protective clothing? Sun protective clothing
- Does not wash off
- Does not need to be reapplied
- Is long lasting – can be washed and dries quickly
- Has no known skin reactions from UV-absorbing compounds in the fabrics
- Is more reliable in protecting against sunburns
- Is a “rash guard” against surfboard and body-board rashes
- Saves money! The clothing actually reduces the need for expensive sunscreens and lotions and pays for itself quickly.
- Is available in fun and innovative designs from many manufacturers
Check out these great companies who donate 5% of their sales back to the AMF!