The sight of spring sunshine after months of dull winter skies gives many people a single-minded urge to lather on the tanning lotion and bask in the backyard for hours. But when you’re living with lupus, soaking up the sun can mean setting yourself up for a flare.
6 Sensible Sunscreen Tips
What you need to know about sunscreen products
By Jenny Thorn Palter
1. Inspect the ingredients. The best products will:
- protect against UV-A and UV-B
- have broad spectrum protection
have an SPF (sun protection factor) number of 30 or higher. Higher numbers don’t mean longer protection times, though! And not much difference in protection is seen after about SPF 50.
2. Be choosy.
A lotion or cream can be applied directly. Sprays allow too much product to be gone with the wind.
3. Be generous.
Be sure you apply the correct amount. Picture a shot glass full of sunscreen lotion. That’s an ounce—the recommended amount to use each time per application.
4. Beware water!
“Water resistant” does not mean “waterproof.” There is no way to make a sunscreen product waterproof. Plus, the damaging rays of the sun are stronger when reflected off water (and snow).
5. Apply appropriately.
- Apply sunscreen 15-20 minutes before going outside.
- Pay special attention to front and back of ears, neck, where arms meet torso, and any other areas usually covered by clothing.
- Reapply at least every 2 hours.
Reapply after 80 minutes of sweating or swimming—especially after toweling dry.
6. Resupply regularly.
If you’re using sunscreen correctly and regularly, it shouldn’t last long. But if you use it more in the summer months and you have any left in the fall, it may lose potency by the following summer. Discard leftover products and start fresh.
Sixteen year old Kylie has decided to face her discoid lupus diagnosis with a positive and optimistic attitude.