Should I apply sunscreen even if I am just running errands? Yes!! Little bursts of sun can add up. Sun exposure induced damage is cumulative. Do I need sunscreen on a cloudy day? Yes!! Up to 80% of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays can pass through clouds. Does an SPF 30 protect much better than a 15? It does not provide twice the screening power. You will get three to four percent more protection with SPF 30 compared to SPF 15. Above 30, higher numbers will give you even less additional benefit, but there is benefit. Which is better-a spray or a cream? Used correctly, they’re about equal. It’s best to spray on once coat and then respray. It is easier to cover hard to reach places with a spray and sprays have a lighter feel. Creams are often greasier so it’s easier to tell if you have skipped a spot. My moisturizer has SPF 15. Do I need to wear sunscreen too? If you are just going back and forth to your car, your moisturizer should be sufficient. You do have to slather on your moisturizer to get adequate SPF protection. If you are at the beach or pool, you definitely need to use sunscreen. Do some ingredients work better? Two of the most effective ingredients are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These are compounds that physically block UVA and UVB radiation from penetrating your skin. Is it considered safe to use sunscreen around my eyes? Yes. If it gets into your eyes, it will burn. Sitting in or near a sunny window is safe While UVB rays can’t penetrate glass, UVA rays can sail right thru. When your furniture and carpet get bleached by the sun it is the UVA rays that are the culprit. Interestingly, a 2007 St Louis University Study found drivers who spend a lot of time in their car without wearing sunscreen have higher rates of skin cancer on sun exposed areas such as the left side of their face, neck, and arm. If I am having a picnic under a shady tree I am safe. If the tree screens out 90% of the sky, its shade is only equivalent to wearing an SPF 10 sunscreen. Lounging under a beach umbrella protects me! Beach sand reflects 25% of the sun that hits it. UV rays can bounce off the sand and find you even if you are under an umbrella! I watch my son’s baseball game protected by a long sleeve shirt. A lightweight shirt gives you protection equivalent to SPF 4. A dark tightly woven one raises coverage to a 10. Sun protective clothing can be very useful in this setting. I don’t have to worry about my eyes in the sun! Long hours in the sun may contribute to cataracts and macular degeneration. A hat with a brim will prevent up to 50% of UV rays from reaching the eyes. Sunglasses rated to block 99% of UVA and UVB are also important. SPF measures how well a sunscreen works. The sun protection factor as it currently stands in 2009, rates how well the product protects against burning UVB rays. For example, a SPF 15 allows for you to stay in the sun 15 times longer without burning than you could without sunscreen-say 150 minutes if you normally get a burn in 10 minutes. The current measuring system does not take into account UVA, which we now know can lead to sun damage. Future rating systems plan to take this into account and are currently awaiting FDA approval.