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Picking and using sunscreeen

28 May 2017

Sunscreen use

When to Apply Sunscreen

  • Apply sunscreen approximately 30 minutes before being in the sun (for best results) so that it can be absorbed by the skin and less likely to wash off.
  • Remember to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours if you are in the water or sweating a lot

How to Apply Sunscreen

  • Shake well before use. Consider using the new spray-on or stick types of sunscreen. The spray-on works well with children.
  • Be sure to apply enough sunscreen. As a rule of thumb, use an ounce (a handful) to cover your entire body.
  • Use on all parts of your skin exposed to the sun, including the ears, back, shoulders, and the back of the knees and legs.
  • Be careful when applying sunscreen around the eyes.

What to Look for When You Buy Sunscreen

Pick a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UV-A and UV-B rays and has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. Sunscreen products with SPF 30 or higher are recommended for individuals performing outdoor work, sports, or recreational activities.

  • Read product labels. Look for a waterproof brand if you will be sweating or swimming.
  • Try a sunscreen with different chemicals if your skin reacts badly to the one that you are using. Not all sunscreens have the same ingredients.
  • Be aware that more expensive does not mean better. Products with SPF >50 provide only a negligible increase in the protection from UV.

With children

  • Avoid sunscreen use in infants younger than six months. However, when adequate clothing and shade are not available, a minimal amount of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF can be applied to small areas, such as the infant's face and the back of the hands.
  • Oil-based emulsions such as zine oxide are preferred infants and children because they offer broad spectrum protection and have minimal irritation and skin penetration.

Using insect repellents

28 May 2017

Proper application

Use just enough repellent to lightly cover the skin.

Repellents should be applied to exposed skin, clothing, or both, but not under clothing.

A thin layer can be applied to the face by dispensing repellent into the palms, rubbing hands together, and then applying to the face.

Repellent should be washed from your hands after application to prevent contact with your eyes and mouth.

Do not use repellent over cuts or wounds.

Do not inhale aerosols, spray them in enclosed spaces or near food, or get them into the eyes.

Do not apply insect repellent to the hands of small children, as it will inevitably be rubbed into the eyes.

The areas treated with repellent should be washed with soap and water once the repellent is no longer needed.

If both sunscreen and repellent are being applied, sunscreen should be applied first and repellent should be applied after. It is better to use separate sunscreen and repellent products, as sunscreen generally needs to be reapplied more frequently than repellent. (See section below)

DEET

DEET is the most commonly used insect repellant. It is effective against mosquitoes, biting flies, chiggers, fleas, and ticks. DEET has been in use for nearly 70 years and is considered the best insect repellant. Some DEET formulations such as 3M Ultrathon, slow evaporation (and hence increase repellency).

DEET is available in many products, in concentrations ranging from less than 10 percent to more than 75 percent. Find the concentration on the label. The effectiveness of DEET peaks at approximately 30 percent, but higher concentrations provide longer durations of protection. Products with concentrations around 10 percent are effective for periods of approximately two hours; a concentration of about 24 percent provides an average of five hours of protection. Protection is shortened by swimming, washing, rainfall, sweating, and wiping.

A good approach is to select the lowest concentration effective for the amount of time spent outdoors. Products with 10 to 35 percent DEET are adequate in most circumstances. Higher concentrations should be reserved for situations in which insect infestation is high, elevated temperatures and humidity may limit evaporation, or time outdoors will exceed three to four hours.

Insect Repellents and Children

Insect repellents containing DEET should not be used on children under 2 months of age. Oil of lemon eucalyptus products should not be used on children under 3 years of age.

When applying insect repellents to children, avoid their hands, around the eyes, and irritated skin. Do not allow children to handle insect repellents. When using on children, apply to your own hands and then put it on the child. After returning indoors, wash your child’s treated skin or bathe the child. Clothes exposed to insect repellants should be washed with soap and water.

Sunscreens Combined with Insect Repellents

If a sunscreen containing DEET is used, then a sunscreen-only product should be used if additional sunscreen is needed. The sunscreen that contains DEET should not be reapplied because repeated applications may increase potential toxic effects.

For sunscreen products made with natural insect repellent ingredients follow package directions. Re-application of the combination product may be all right depending upon the particular formulation. After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water, especially if using repellents repeatedly in a day or on consecutive days.

How Long Does Protection Last?

Although higher concentrations of any of the active ingredients provide longer protection, concentrations above 50 percent generally do not increase protection time. Products with less than 10 percent of the active ingredient offer only limited protection, about one or two hours.

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