05 August 2008

When selecting a sunscreen, it's important to consider the different skin types and how they react with exposure to the sun. You can protect your skin by following a few basic rules for your skin type.

Skin type 1: Straightly burn, never tan.
- Avoid sunbathing and make sure you cover arms and legs with long shirts etc when out in the summer sun.
- There’s no tan. Any attempts will only cause skin damage, which may later develop into cancer.
- Fine pale skin does not age as quickly as other skin types. Your tanned friends will get wrinkles long before you do.

Skin type 2: Only an hour in the sun then slightly feel burnt the next day. After seven days there’s a slight tan.
- Don't try to tan and take extra care in the sun.
- Use a sunscreen with a high protection factor (SPF 30) during the peak of the summer season.
- Don't use a sunscreen with an SPF lower than 15.

Skin type 3: Only an hour in the sun then slightly feel burnt the next day. After seven days there’s moderate tan.
- Wear a sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (SPF 20+).
- Don't be tempted to use a sunscreen with an SPF lower than 15, even if you rarely burn.
- There’s still risk of developing skin cancer and should take care in the sun.

Skin type 4: Never feel burnt after spending an hour in the sun. After seven days very tanned.
- Even though chances of developing skin cancer are less than those of people with skin type 1, 2 or 3, the sun can still damage the skin and cause wrinkles.
- Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15.

All skin types should stay out of the sun at the hottest times of the day (11am-3pm).

Young children: For ages 6 months+, consider a product with SPF of 15 or higher to protect against both sun tanning and burning. Also consider a product label that lists protection against both UVA and UVB rays (also known as the "broad-spectrum").

Once you've selected the most suitable sunscreen product, and regardless of your skin type, apply your sunscreen 'before' going out into the sun's rays. To ensure the best possible UV protection, the sunscreen product should also be spread fairly thick, and in a uniform manner over all areas of the skin that will be exposed to the UV rays.

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