Sun Safety Tips

Sun safety - get the facts.

Just because it's not HOT doesn't mean you're not burning. Check your local UV Index at

RAYS - Did you know there are two types of UV rays that penetrate the Ozone layer and make it to your skin? UVA rays, which accelerate aging, and UVB rays, which cause sunburns. Both UVA and UVB rays contribute to skin cancer.

Patrick's Sunscreen protects you from both types.

SPF - Sun Protection Factor is about the LENGTH of protection, not the strength of protection provided by your sunscreen. It also refers only to protection from UVB rays, so make sure your sunscreen is broad spectrum (meaning it protects you from UVA rays as well).

STRENGTH - SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays; SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays; SPF 50 blocks 98% of rays...

LENGTH - Calculate your SP factor:

• Step 1: Rate your skin

Fair skin, olive skin, or dark skin

Fair means you can be in the sun for about 10 minutes with no protection before you start to burn. Olive means 15 minutes and dark means 20 minutes. We will call that number your sun safety factor.

• Step 2: Multiply your sun safety factor by the SPF listed on the product to get the number of minutes of protection it will give you.

Example: Patrick is fair-skinned so his sun safety factor of 10 x SPF 30 = 300 minutes or 5 hours of protection.

SPF 30 x 10 minutes = 300 minutes. 300 minutes/60 = 5 hours of protection.

Keep in mind that SPF is determined in a laboratory setting. This means changes in the environment are eliminated for testing. It is important to reapply sunscreen after swimming or sweating and/or every 2 hours for maximum protection.

Most people only put on a quarter to two-thirds enough product to actually reach the product's SPF rating. An 'average' adult standing 5'4" and weighing 150 lbs. should use approximately 1 oz. per full-body application. That's a shot glass full.

A good sun protection plan should include not only a quality sunscreen, but also some common sense tips that help to reduce overall exposure to the sun:

• Apply sunscreen 15-20 minutes prior to sun exposure.

• Limiting sun exposure between 10 am and 4 pm, when the sun's rays are strongest.

• Wearing clothing and hats that protect as much as possible.

• Wearing UV-blocking sunglasses.

• Reapplication of sunscreen every two hours.

• Use of only broad-spectrum sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher.

• Use of sunscreen year 'round, even on cloudy days.

• Visits to a dermatologist annually for a complete body screening.

• Getting a tan the safe way - with a self-tanning lotion.

By following a few simple guidelines it is easy to enjoy outdoor activities and limit harmful, unprotected exposure to the sun.

Get the facts on skin cancer here.