What does SPF mean? SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. It refers to how much ultraviolet (UV) radi- ation it takes to burn your skin when it is unprotected (versus when your skin is protected with sunscreen). SPF relates to both the duration of sun exposure and the intensity of the sun’s rays. Therefore, the time of day your skin is exposed to the sun also plays a role. The bottom line is, the higher the SPF, the more pro- tection it offers from sunburn. The MRF recommends using SPF of at least 30.
How much sunscreen should I use? Sunscreen should be applied liberally approximately 15 minutes before sun exposure. You should use at least one ounce (a shot glassful) to cover the whole body and reapply every two hours you are out in the sun. It should be reapplied every hour if you are sweating or swim- ming. Don’t forget about your lips, ears, hands, feet and the back of the neck. How will I get vitamin D if I use sunscreen? Research shows that regular sunscreen use does not prevent vitamin D pro- duction. Children and adults should obtain vitamin D from fish, fortified dairy products and cereals. Claims that tanning beds increase vitamin D produc- tion are misleading and false. If you are concerned about your vitamin D levels, speak with your doctor. The bottom line is, vitamin D should be obtained in a way that does not risk UV damage.
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