With all the excitement surrounding the 4th of July holiday, skin health is probably the last thing on your mind. These sunblock tips from Dr. Llana Pootrakul, a board-certified dermatologist at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, can protect you from UV damage whether you spend the day poolside, at a cookout or your favorite park.

  • Know your options: Did you know that there are two different kinds of sunscreen? There are chemical blockers and physical blockers. The two types are not made equally. Dr. Pootrakul says chemical blockers wear off quicker than physical blockers, plus people are more likely to be allergic to chemical blockers. For that reason, she prefers to use physical blockers – plus, they are often cheaper!
  • Buy higher SPF than you think you need: Dr. Pootrakul recommends buying higher SPF 50 sunscreen because of the way SPF ratings are assigned. In the lab, when SPF ratings are determined, subjects are slathered with sunscreen. In reality, we don’t apply as much as we should. So by the time we’re done applying, our SPF 50 is actually only about as strong as an SPF 30 sunscreen.
  • If you’re going to use spray sunscreen, rub it in: Again, in the lab when scientists are testing sunscreens, they’re spraying extensively before testing for sun protection. In reality, most folks spray a light mist and think they’re good. Spray more, and rub it in.
  • Apply more than once: Too many people think that they can just apply sunscreen at the start of their day outside and then they’re good to go all day. That’s untrue. You should really be reapplying every two hours.