The need for an adequate sunscreen all year round cannot be overstated. UV rays can, and do, cause an astonishing amount of damage to our skin. Even that of people of color (see [DOCTOR'S ORDERS] Yes, Black People DO Get Sunburn). But as EWG, Environmental Working Group, points out, "Sunscreen Should Be Your Last Resort." This means people should try to be covered or time outdoor activities when the sun is not as intense.
If you are going to be outside in the sun, heed the advice of experts EWG, Consumer Reports, and the American Academy of Dermatology.
People select products based on their SPF, or sunburn protection factor, and mistakenly assume that bigger numbers are better. In reality, higher SPF ratings don’t necessarily offer greater protection from UV-related skin damage, especially UVA damage, and may lead users to spend too much time in the sun. (EWG 2018 executive summary)
There’s no proof that sunscreens alone prevent most skin cancer. (EWG 2018 executive summary)
Don’t be fooled by high SPF. High-SPF products tempt people to apply too little sunscreen and stay in the sun too long. (EWG 2018 executive summary)
Sunscreen doesn’t protect skin from all types of sun damage. (EWG 2018 executive summary)
Understand sunscreen labeling (American Academy of Dermatology)
Want recommendations? EWG and Consumer Reports have them:
- Best Beach & Sport Sunscreens (EWG)
- Best Lip Balms with SPF (EWG)
- Consumer Reports ratings (paywall) (Great news! Access the ratings at your local DC Public Library branch!)
Do you want to test what you've learned from these sources? Take the American Academy of Dermatology quiz, Is your sunscreen really protecting you?
And after you have properly applied sunscreen, let us know what kind of fun you are having in Anacostia Park or on the Anacostia River; mention #sunsafeskin #AnacostiaRiver @anacostiarivpk on Twitter!