Kim’s Query: My question is about sunscreen: On the bottle, it says to apply 15-30 minutes before sun exposure so the product can absorb. Say I apply sunscreen to my hands, wait half an hour, then wash them. Will the skin on my hands still be protected from the sun? Or do I need to apply again, and wait another 30 minutes?
The Right Brain‘s Solar-Powered Reply:
Kim, your question reminds us of the recent comment from Marcy who’s husband believes that the big sunscreen companies tell us we have to apply more sunscreen just to boost sales. You haven’t been hanging with Marcy’s husband have you? We didn’t think so, but we just had to ask.
First of all, if you’re washing off the sunscreen you’ve already put on, it doesn’t matter if you wait the 30 minutes or not. You’ve got to leave it on or it won’t work. But if you’re just concerned about protecting your hands, we wouldn’t worry too much. You can apply sunscreen to your hands and then just carefully wash the palms so they don’t feel greasy. That way the backs of your hands will be protected and there’s little chance that your palms will get enough sun to cause a problem. But if you’re still worried about it, you could always wear gloves at the beach like the Left Brain does!
Still confused about how to apply sunscreen? We’ll pass on these sunscreen application tips from the American Academy of Dermatologists
1) Put on plenty
An ounce or so (the article says a shot glass full, hence today’s picture) should about do it for the average person.
2) Soak it up
For maximum protection, wait for it to soak in before (15 to 30 minutes) before frolicking in the sun.
3) Frequent reapplication
Reapply often, at least every two hours. Why? First, because the UV absorbing molecules can wear out over time so your protection level drops off. Second, because sweating, swimming, and towel drying can remove sunscreen from your skin’s surface. Do you really have to put more on after only 2 hours? Apparently yes. Studies have shown that people who wait 2 and a half hours instead of 2, have a 5 times greater chance of burning.
Yes, this means you might go through an entire bottle of sunscreen during a day at the beach. But that’s still cheaper than a visit to your friendly neighborhood dermatolgist to have a spot of melanoma removed!