The Local Knowlege

Health & Fitness

Six things to remember about sunscreen

By Ron Kaspriske


Congratulations. You bought a tube/can/jar/stick of sunscreen. Now what? Yes, you should put it on. But there’s more to it than that. Here are six things to remember:

the-loop-health-suncreen-basics.jpg1. Sunscreens expire. And when they do, you should replace them. If it’s been sitting in your bag since last golf season, toss it. 

2. The are two types of sunscreens. There are physical blockers, which reflect the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays, and there are chemical blockers, which absorb the rays. Physical blockers are recommended for people with sensitive skin. Chemical blockers are typically more user-friendly and less annoying to wear.

3. Buy ones that contain SPF 15 or 30. Anything lower isn’t effective enough (although you should use it in an emergency). Anything higher is overkill -- and usually priced higher. Why? Sunscreens only last for about two hours so the promise of all-day protection is bogus.

4. Don't worry about nanoparticles. Microscopic particles are absorbed into the skin when sunscreen is applied. There was a lot of recent concern about their potential health risks, but a recent study concluded that the body's immune system dispatches these particles before they reach the blood stream. 

5. Reapply at the turn -- everywhere. Since sunscreens tend to lose their effectiveness in a couple of hours, you can't get through a typical round completely protected. The most important spots are places such as your nose and ears, which take the brunt of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.

6. Don’t forget your lips. Buy -- and use -- a lip balm that has SPF protection. Your lips are skin, too, as they can be damaged by the sun. Believe me, the last thing you want is a doctor to have to remove a part of a lip because he found cancer cells. 

Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor of Golf Digest.


(Illustration by Eddie Guy)