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Sun Care Products at Walgreens

Basking in the sun can lift your spirits, but the harsh ultraviolet energy found in sunlight can wreak havoc on your skin. Fortunately, you can take steps to protect yourself with sun care products from Walgreens. We offer options for adults as well as babies and kids in a wide range of formulas and SPF levels to suit every need.

What is sunscreen?

Sunscreen is a lotion, cream, spray, oil or liquid that filters out some of the ultraviolet radiation in sunlight before it reaches your skin. Using a broad spectrum sunscreen on a daily basis has been shown to reduce the risk of certain types of skin cancer and can help protect against the damage that contributes to the signs of premature skin aging. Using sunscreen as directed also reduces the risk of a painful sunburn.

What does SPF stand for?

SPF stands for "Sun Protection Factor". It is a method of determining what percentage of ultraviolet B (UVB) rays a product filters out to prevent sunburn. It is important to note that SPF does not indicate protection against ultraviolet A (UVA) rays.

What does SPF mean?

The SPF level tells you how well a sunscreen protects you from getting burned by the sun's harmful ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Products with an SPF of 15 filter out about 93 percent of UVB rays while products with an SPF of 30 filter out about 97 percent and SPF 50 about 98 percent. Note that no sunscreen blocks 100 percent of UV rays.

What Does Broad Spectrum Mean?

Broad spectrum is a term used to describe sunscreens that in addition to filtering ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, also provide protection from ultraviolet A (UVA). It's important to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen because both UVB and UVA rays are harmful. UVB rays are primarily responsible for sunburns while UVA rays penetrate more deeply and are responsible for signs of premature skin aging such as wrinkles and loss of elasticity. Both types of rays can contribute to the risk of skin cancer.

What does sunscreen do?

Sunscreen limits the amount of ultraviolet (UV) rays that come in contact with your skin. In the short term, using sunscreen as directed can make you less likely to develop a sunburn when you're outdoors. With regular use, reducing exposure to UV rays can lower your risk of developing certain kinds of skin cancer and may help protect against the damage that can lead to sun-related skin imperfections like sun spots and premature wrinkles.

What SPF should I use?

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that everyone over 6 months of age use a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen (meaning it protects against ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays) with an SPF of 30 or higher. Use sunscreen any time you plan to be outside, even on cloudy days.

How long does sunscreen last?

Sunscreens are made to be effective for up to 3 years in the bottle. However, it's important to note the expiration date that comes on most sunscreens. After that date, the sunscreen is no longer considered effective. If your sunscreen doesn't have an expiration date, write the date you purchased it on the bottle and use it all or discard it within 3 years of the purchase date.

Once applied to your skin, sunscreen can provide protection for up to 2 hours.

How does sunscreen work?

Sunscreen can work in two ways: physically or chemically. Some types of sunscreen use both physical and chemical active ingredients.

  • Physical sunscreens protect you by reflecting UV rays before they reach your skin. They contain mineral-derived ingredients such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. These ingredients provide broad-spectrum sun protection, reflecting UVA and UVB rays.
  • Chemical sunscreens protect your skin by absorbing UV rays. Some of the common chemical sunscreen ingredients include avobenzone, oxybenzone, sulisobenzone, octyl methoxycinnamate and cinoxate. Depending on their ingredients, chemical sunscreens may or may not offer broad-spectrum protection.

How to apply sunscreen

Roughly 30 minutes before you head outside, generously apply sunscreen to all of your exposed skin. One ounce (2 tablespoons) should be used to cover the entire body. One ounce is a shot glass-sized amount of sunscreen for easy reference. Make sure not to miss spots like the tops of your feet, your hands, the back of your neck, your ears, the part on your scalp and the bridge of your nose.

How often should you reapply sunscreen?

Sunscreen should be reapplied at least every 2 hours. If you're sweating profusely, reapply more frequently. You should also reapply sunscreen immediately after you towel off following a swim, even if you're using a water-resistant formula.

Can you tan with sunscreen on?

Yes, it is possible to develop a tan while wearing sunscreen. No sunscreen protects against all of the ultraviolet B (UVB) energy that causes your skin to tan.

When can babies wear sunscreen?

Typically, pediatricians advise parents to keep babies younger than 6 months out of the sun, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun's rays are the strongest.

If you must bring your infant outside, protect them from the sun using clothing and sun shades. When clothing and shade aren't available, you can apply sunscreen on small areas of your infant's body, such as the face. Babies older than 6 months can wear sunscreen on all areas of their bodies.

Choose a physical childrens sunscreen such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, as it's best for an infant's sensitive skin. Check with your child's pediatrician for specific advice regarding when to use sunscreen on your little one.

Can sunscreen expire?

Yes, sunscreen does expire because the ingredients lose their effectiveness over time. Sunscreens are made to be effective for up to 3 years in the bottle. However, an expiration date is often printed on sunscreen packaging to let you know when it's time to throw out old product.

Make sure you discard sunscreen after its expiration date. If your sunscreen doesn't contain an expiration date, write the date you purchased it on the bottle and use it all or throw it away within 3 years of the purchase date.

Store sunscreen in a cool, dry place. Heat can break down the ingredients contained within the product.

After Sun Care

Sunburned skin is damaged, dry skin. To help skin heal, take a cool bath or shower and gently pat yourself dry. Then apply a moisturizer that contains aloe vera or soy to help trap water in your skin.

How to get rid of sunburns

With time and proper care, sunburned skin will generally heal on its own. Minor burns can benefit from topical products with soothing and hydrating ingredients, such as moisturizers containing aloe vera and soy. If your skin blisters, leave the blisters alone since they help your skin to heal and protect you from infection.

How to treat sunburns

If you develop a minor sunburn, you can use an after sun product to soothe discomfort. Choose a product that contains aloe vera, which can help the skin heal from sunburn and moisturize the affected area. If your sunburn is especially painful, consider applying hydrocortisone cream or taking aspirin or ibuprofen.

If blisters form, this means you have a second-degree sunburn. Resist the urge to pop the blisters, as they protect the skin and help reduce the risk of infection. Be sure to drink extra water to prevent dehydration.

Sunglasses for Eye Protection

Experts recommend wearing wraparound or large framed sunglasses that filter out at least 99 percent of UV rays whenever you'll be outdoors on sunny days. Doing so helps to protect your eyes, eyelids and sensitive skin around your eyes from the sun's harmful rays.

Do I need to wear sunscreen in the winter or on cloudy days?

Yes, sunscreen is recommended for use year-round in all types of weather conditions. Even when the sun is not visible or it is cold outside, there is still ultraviolet radiation that can damage your skin.

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