Apply Sunscreen!

What’s true and what’s not about sunscreen? Take our quiz.

By FamilyTime


Every summer, we hear the same advice: apply sunscreen. Companies that make sunscreen come out with products with higher and higher SPF (Sun Protection Factor) numbers, often with skyrocketing price tags.

No one can deny that a bright, sunny summer day beckons us outside and it's no fun at all to stay indoors—so what is a health-conscious person to do?

Learn the facts, that’s what!

We’ve assembled 8 facts about sunscreen. Take our quiz and see how savvy you are about exposure to the sun’s rays.

  1. True or false? Sunscreen is not necessary on cloudy days.
  2. True or false? The higher the SPF, the better the protection.
  3. True or false? Any sunscreen is better than none.
  4. True or false? As long as I wear sunscreen, I can go outside anytime of day without concern.
  5. True or false? Even if I rub sunscreen on my face, arms and legs in the morning, I am not protected all day.
  6. True or false? Once I am tan, I can stop using sunscreen.
  7. True or false? More than 80 percent of our lifetime exposure to the sun occurs before the age of 18.
  8. True of false? Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States.


  1. False: You are exposed to dangerous UV rays even when the sun does not shine. The exposure is stronger in bright sunlight in areas with reflective surfaces (the beach, a pool, ski slopes). As well as using sunscreen, depend on closely woven clothing, wide brimmed hats and sunglasses for protection from the sun.
  2. False. SPF 15 protects your skin just as effectively as, say, SPF 40, but not for as long. The number refers to the amount of time you can stay in the sun without burning. Here’s how it works: if you burn in 10 minutes, multiply SPF 15 by 10 to determine that you can stay outside without burning for 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes). Theoretically, if you use SPF 40 sunscreen and burn in 10 minutes, you could stay outside for 400 minutes (6 + hours). Unfortunately, this is not really the case. Sunscreen wears off over time and factors such as sweat, water, and clothing rubbing over your skin contribute. The solution is to apply sunscreen frequently and in sufficient amounts.
  3. True: Even sunscreens with SPFs of 4 or 8 are better than nothing, but doctors recommend you use sunscreens with SPFs of at least 15 always.
  4. False: The sun is strongest between 10 and 3 and those are the times we should plan to stay indoors, if possible — or at the very least seek shade. Even with sunscreen, you run the risk of damaging your skin. But life happens, and so if you are outside in the heat of the day, wear sunscreen with a SPF of at least 15, and apply it often.
  5. True: It’s important to apply sunscreen often — usually once every two hours — for maximum protection. It’s equally important to apply it about 30 minutes before exposure to the sun to give it time to be absorbed. And it’s crucial to apply sunscreen liberally. Some experts figure you should rub about an ounce on your body every couple of hours.
  6. False: For the most part, tanned skin protects against sunburn. It does not protect you from skin cancer or wrinkling. Apply sunscreen to tanned skin.
  7. False: While this may be true for some people, for most of us it is not. Studies show a more accurate number is about 23 percent of our lifetime exposure to the sun occurs before age 18. It’s important to use sunscreen regardless of your age.
  8. True: More than a million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed every year in the U.S. While most are not fatal, all must be treated with care. If you notice any change in a mole, see a dermatologist. Look for differences in size and shape and overall appearance.