I'm old enough to remember when the first studies came out linking sun exposure to cancer, and when the first sunblocks came out. Before that it was all "tanning lotions" that claimed to protect you from burning and nobody cared about SPF.
I'm a very pale person, and my skin has three settings: burn, freckle, and blindingly white. So the advent of SPF 50 has actually been a good thing for me because I can go to the beach without roasting like a chicken. One of the major risk factors for skin cancer is a serious, blistering sunburn in childhood. I had a couple, and I am making sure my kids don't. So people like my dad can roll their eyes at my liberal use of sunscreen for both me and my kids, but I know we're doing the right thing.
Unfortunately, a lot of people don't know how to use sunscreen properly. Here are the key facts to remember:
Do: Use a lot...at least a shot glass worth, more if you are bigger or going to have a lot of exposed skin, such as on the beach.
Don't: Forget your (and your kids') neck, ears, lips, and the tops of your feet (my husband has a sunburn on his feet right now)!
Do: Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going outside, and you should wait even longer before you go in the water.
Don't: Think waterproof sunscreens protect you all day...you still need to apply at least once every two hours, and more often if you're sweating or swimming.
Do: Protect yourself further with sunglasses, a hat, and long sleeves if you're going to be out for a long time.
Don't: Assume you only need it if you burn easily. Skin of all colors can be damaged from sun exposure!
And another pro tip from me: If you use a retinol product, make extra double super sure your face is well-protected. Retinols make your skin more sun-sensitive and even if your makeup or moisturizer typically protect you, add another layer of sunscreen just to be safe!
What's your favorite sunscreen? And how often do you use it?