Welcome outdoor adventurers! Whether you’re a camper, backpacker, hiker, rock climber or sun bather, you spend a lot of time outdoors in the daytime. Spending time outside is key to health and happiness. We want to help guide your outdoor activity sun care to protect you and your family from harmful sun exposure.
As award winning sun care creators, we have picked up a few tricks and tips along the way. We have spent years talking to people with sun sensitivity factors, developing sweat resistant sunscreen that can keep up with our athletes and formulating the perfect sunscreen for hiking. Today we are answering our most asked questions for your favorite outdoor activities!
Top 5 Sun Care FAQs
Q1 How much sunscreen do you really need to use?
Two people on a hike will need at least one 4 fl. oz. tube of sunscreen. Yes, the entire tube!
How did we arrive at this exact amount? According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, you should be applying at least 2 tablespoons (equivalent to 1 fluid ounce) of sunscreen every 2 hours of sun exposure. This is enough to cover your face and most exposed areas of your body. Our Thinksport Sunscreen goes on easy and protects you for up to 80 minutes. If it’s a particularly humid day or you are sweating excessively, it is recommended that you reapply sunscreen even more frequently -- so pack your sunscreen accordingly.
Q2 Is it worth it to buy high SPF sunscreen?
There’s a lot of confusion around SPF (sun protection factor). People often think, the higher the SPF. The better! Or the less they have to apply SPF. SPF is a measure of how well a sunscreen will protect skin from UVB rays. The SPF scale is not linear. A common misconception is that as your SPF increases, your protection doubles.
Here are some helpful numbers for perspective:
- SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays
- SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays
- SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays
We understand it's complicated selecting sun care. Think Dermatologist Dr. Jakus recommends a mineral based sunscreen that includes key ingredients like zinc oxide, that is SPF 30 or above.
Q3 What factors increase sun sensitivity?
- You’re in a high Ultraviolet Index (UVI) area: The UVI is a rating scale—0-2 (low) to 11+ (extreme)—which indicates the daily amount of UV rays reaching the Earth’s surface in a given location. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers UVI forecasts by ZIP code.
- You’ll be where there’s water or snow. You can also get burned purely by reflective light. Advanced skiers can testify that at least an SPF 30 is required for a day in the snow! Protective clothing can also help combat sunburns caused by reflective light. Location matters, the higher the altitude, the more exposure to UV light.
Kids have thinner, more sensitive skin. Damage at an early age can also increase their risk of more serious problems later in life.
Sun sensitivity is increased by drugs such as acne treatments, antihistamines, antibiotics, birth control pills and herbal remedies like St. John’s Wart. For more details on how medication affect's sun sensitivity, read this helpful guide from FDA.
Q4 What should I look for in a sunscreen if I get wet or sweat a lot?
“Water resistant” means the sunscreen is formulated to perform well despite the presence of water or sweat. Because no sunscreen lasts indefinitely when you’re swimming or sweating, the FDA bans the use of “waterproof” or “sweatproof” on product labels. They have a specific test, though, and you should find one of two ratings:
- Water resistant for 40 minutes
- Water resistant for 80 minutes
Be aware, though, that toweling off your skin removes sunscreen. So, regardless of the water resistance rating and time you think you should have left, you need to reapply sunscreen immediately after you use a towel. For reapplication, we love our quick and easy Thinksport SPF 30 Sunscreen Stick. It's an easy grab and makes applying sunscreen simple for on the go people.
Q5 What are some other ways I can protect myself from the sun besides sunscreen?
Cover up with Clothing and Sunglasses
Wear a hat, wear UPF rated clothing or even long sleeves. Layering is key!
Find a Shady Spot
During peak daylight hours - roughly from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. choose shaded trails, campgrounds, or bring along a sun shade to help protect you from intense uva and uvb rays.
Sunscreen isn't seasonal! We are here for you and wish you Happy Trails, wherever the road may take you.