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Posts Tagged ‘UV Safety Month’

July is UV Safety Month. By Our July Student Pharmacist, Calvin Chan.

Sun Clipart

Did you know that July is Ultraviolet or UV Safety month?

The skin is the body’s largest organ that is responsible for protecting us from heat, injury, infection, and harmful UV rays from the sun. Our skin does such a good job of protecting us, but how often do we think of protecting our skins? Let’s delve a little bit more into how we can treat our skin better by choosing the correct sunscreen and how to recover from a sunburn:

The Facts:

  • 1 in 5 Americans develop skin cancer in their lifetime.
  • The sun radiates three spectrums of UV radiations: UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C.
  • All three UV spectrums have been associated with causing DNA damage and skin cancer.
  • The Ozone ONLY blocks UV-C, but sunscreens can block UV-A and UV-B.
  • It may take up to twelve hours to see the full effects of sunburns.

Sunscreen Sample JPEG

Choosing the Right Sunscreen:

  • “Broad-Spectrum”
    • This labeling indicates the product has been shown to protect from UV-A AND UV-B radiation.
    • Sunscreens with the phrase: “Product has been shown only to help prevent sunburn, not skin cancer or early skin aging,” have been formulated to protect ONLY against UV-B radiation, NOT UV-A.
  • Sun Protection Factor (SPF) > 30
    • SPF is a rating scale of how well a product protects against UV-B radiation. No rating scale for UV-A protection exists yet.
    • SPF 30 will block ~97% of UV-B radiation.
  • Water-resistant vs. Very water-resistant vs. Waterproof?
    • NO sunscreen product is fully “waterproof.”
    • Products are either “water-resistant” (40 minutes) or “very water-resistant” (80 minutes).
    • Re-apply after swimming or significant sweating!

Using sunscreen:

  1. Apply 15-30 minutes before exposure for maximum protection.
  2. Apply liberally–it may take about one ounce (one shot glass) of sunscreen per area for adequate protection.
  3. Re-apply about 20 minutes after exposure.
  4. Afterwards, re-apply every two hours or after swimming/significant sweating.

What about INFANTS younger than 6 months old?

  • Limit use of sunscreen to the face or hands.
  • Use protective clothing (long-sleeve shirts, hats, and shades) or keep infants in the shade or inside protected strollers/indoors.

Treating a sunburn. You should use:

  • Oral analgesics (ex: ibuprofen or acetaminophen) for pain and swelling
  • Cool water washes or cold compresses
  • Moisturizing creams (ex: Cetaphil)
  • Aloe Vera gel
  • Drink extra water.
  • AVOID topical anesthetics (ex: lidocaine or benzocaine).


American Academy of Dermatology

Mayo Clinic

The Ohio State College of Pharmacy