Practical Steps to a Healthier You: Use Sunscreen {Week 20}

For the next 26 weeks I will be sharing a different way you can become healthier in your daily life. Some of these suggestions have to do with food or exercise, others have to do with lifestyle changes, but all of them are practical and relatively easy to execute. You may already be practicing some of these habits, but hopefully you’ll be inspired by at least one or two new ideas you can begin to implement.

Use Sunscreen

Did you know that one American dies of melanoma almost every single hour? Not only is it dangerous to not wear sunscreen, but Dr. Wendy Roberts says, “You will regret not having worn sunscreen when you look at your skin compared to friends and family who have worn daily sunscreen 20 years from now.”


“Because of the focus on breast cancer and prostate cancer, you might not realize that skin cancer is actually the most common form of cancer in the United States.” (1) Both UVB and UVA rays can lead to cancer. Skin cancer is often difficult to detect, however, and can spread quickly before you even realize you’ve been infected.

Even if you don’t tend to “burn easy,” your skin can still be damaged by the sun over time through repeated exposure to the sun’s harmful rays. “Recently, a researcher reported that if sunscreens were used regularly by children through the age of 18, there would be a 72% reduction in the cases of skin cancer later in life.” (2)


Some call sunscreen “the fountain of youthful skin.” Researchers are finding that 90% of wrinkles are caused by UVA sunlight! The number one cause of premature aging is sun damage and this happens even at low-level exposures to sunlight. Start associating tanning with wrinkles, aging, and disease instead of believing that it is beautiful to be tan.


1. Keep in mind that according to Dr. Wendy Roberts, “Expired sunscreen has literally fallen apart, so the formulation no longer works as a sun protectant. You get zero sun protection.”

2. The difference between SPF 30, 50, and 100 is marginal:
SPF 30 blocks 97% UVB rays
SPF 50 filters 98% UVB rays
SPF 100 blocks 99% UVB rays

3. Regardless of the SPF, ALL sunscreens need to be reapplied every 2 hours.

4. Be sure to get “Broad-Spectrum” sunscreen, as it protects against both UVB and UVA rays.

5. You need to apply sunscreen 15 minutes BEFORE being exposed to the sun.

6. You need to use a teaspoon of sunscreen for your face and 3 Tablespoons for your entire body or else the SPF drops down to way less than the labeled amount.

7. If you wear makeup, apply sunscreen on FIRST, then apply your makeup for the greatest protection.

8. Worried you’ll feel greasy, do a little research and find non-greasy alternative sunscreens. There are a plethora of options out there. Don’t use laziness as an excuse!


1. 80% of UV rays that cause sun damage penetrate the clouds, so you’re not necessary safe on cloudy days.

2. Between the hours of 10am and 4pm, are the peak hours of ultraviolet radiation, so if nothing else, avoid sunlight during this time every day.

3. Even though most windows block UVB rays that cause sunburn, they still allow cancer-causing UVA rays through. If you’re going to be sitting for long periods of time in front of a window or in the car driving, apply sunscreen.

4. In the winter, the snow reflects up to 80% of the sun’s UV rays, so sunscreen shouldn’t just be used in the summer months.

5. Sunscreen isn’t the only way to protect against the sun’s rays. Try wearing protective clothing or a large-brimmed hat.


Do any of these things surprise you? Leave a comment below.


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