Home Features Health AZ Health: Sunscreen 101


As we are geared up to hit the beach and pools this season, let’s not forget about the sun. As the spring equinox is in full effect, we can look forward to getting outside and enjoying the 12 hours of sunshine. spoke with Banner Health dermatologist Dr. Kirsten Flynn as  she shares valuable information on taking care of our skin while under the sun. 

“Sun Protective Factor (SPF) is best when you are using a broad spectrum of 30 or higher,” says Flynn. “UVA and UVB can both contribute to skin cancer if you are not wearing any sun protectants.” SPF 15 is useful if used  properly.

When you are at the beach, use a higher level and more amount of sunscreen than you normally would. The thicker the sunscreen, the better it will stay on. If you are uncertain on how often you should apply sunscreen, information from studies say that 20 percent to 25 percent of the recommended use is not enough when you are only using one ounce to cover the entire body. Flynn says, “While you are catching the waves or at the pool, you should be reapplying your sun protectant every two hours. Be sure to use a water-resistant sunscreen. When you are doing physical activities under the sun, be sure to reapply every 80 minutes.”

“Always seek shade every 20 to 30 minutes so that the sun is not burning your skin. The hours that you should avoid the sun are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.” She also recommends to not lay out or stay out too long. With sunscreen sprays, you can miss spots. Just be sure to go over the areas that are exposed to the sun twice. And don’t be misled by clouds. The overcast can give a false sense of security so don’t underestimate the cloudy days. Apply as you normally would on a sunny day.