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Poll: Do You Always Wear Sunscreen?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I feel like my kids are constantly greasy in the summer, since I coat them in sunscreen every time we go out to play. My son usually has a hat on and my daughter either wears a hat or her favorite ladybug sunglasses. I know about the damaging effects of the sun's rays, so I try to be very careful and not expose them to too much (except for a few minutes unprotected to get their Vitamin D for the day.) You'd think that because I'm so diligent with my children, I'd also make sure I'm protected. But honestly, that's not always the case.

Many times I rely on the SPF in my moisturizer to protect me from the sun, instead of applying additional sunscreen like I should. I developed brown spots on my face from sun exposure while pregnant, and although they have faded, I still see them every time I look in the mirror. I know I need to be more careful, but after spending 15 minutes covering my kids from head-to-toe, often I'm too lazy to spend a few more minutes applying it to myself. Shame on me.

According to the FDA, "Studies show that exposure to the sun can cause skin cancer. Harmful rays from the sun—and from sunlamps and tanning beds—may also cause eye problems, weaken your immune system, and give you unsightly skin spots, wrinkles, or "leathery" skin." It's important to limit your sun exposure during the heat of the day (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and also to keep in mind that even on a cloudy day, up to 80% of the sun's UV rays can reach your skin.

Many people who use sunscreen regularly don't apply it correctly. According to experts at Saint Louis University, adults need at least a shot glass full of sunscreen to cover the whole body. Most people don't use nearly enough. It's also important to reapply every few hours if you're out for a long time, and even more frequently if you're swimming. If you use convenient spray bottles to apply the product, hold it 2-3 inches from your body and rub in for full coverage.

When selecting a sunscreen, there are hundreds of choices on the market. This blog explains how to choose the best one for you and your family.

Do you wear sunscreen whenever you go outside? If you're a parent, are you more likely to make sure your children are covered before you worry about yourself?

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I am very fair and always wear sunscreen. Report
I don't like hot weather & don't go out in it anymore than I have to. My facial moisturizer has a SPF of 30 as per suggestion of my doctor. Baking myself in the sun to get tanned is not my idea of having a good time nor is it healthy to do, thus I don't. Report
i always wear sunscreen...even if it's cloudy, no question about it...had skin cancer, don't want to temp the gods again in that area.... Report
always on my face and cleavage (at my age, ahem, the results of NOT using sunscreen earlier in my life are very visible). never on my legs. often on my arms, but once I'm dark enough even that goes by the wayside. Report
Yes, if I have to be in the sun for very long. Report
I use sunscreen most of the time but I sometimes I don't. Not necessarily because I don't want to but I hate the white tint it gives to my chocolate brown skin. Can't they make sunscreen for brown people? lol Report
No, we need our vitamin D and sunscreen blocks you getting it. Report
Usually put on sunscreen during summer months when I am going to be out working in the sun for hours on end BUT I see that the latest information says we should get about 20 minutes of "unprotected" sun exposure every day to accumulate enough Vit D. I always use a face moisturizer but must confess that usually does not include an SPF factor - I have tried lots but none that I like! Report
Consistent usage of sunscreen is not part of my grooming ritual. I realize the error of my ways and am working hard to become more diligent with skin care! Report
Unprotected sun exposure would often make the skin impersonate Swiss Cheeses since any type of spot having uncharacteristic form, uneven margins, patchy color or enlarging width would in most likelihood need to be surgically excised. One would need to undergo skin biopsy for dubious mole formations and need that atypical skin growth to be excised which could cost around 250 dollars.
By the time I put it on my three kids - I have forgotten all about myself and then am always, always surprised when I burn. Not very smart..... Report
if i know i'll be spending some time outside (30+ minutes), then yes. often when i'm outside, though, lately, its been unintentionally longer and i don't have my sunscreen. that's the first thing i put on, though, when it comes to mowing or gardening that i know i'll be doing--i make a big deal out of doing it as best i can, and get my big floppy hat out for the rest. Report
I never use sun screen on myself but always loading the kids yes lol Report
One thing I point out is that there has been no reduction in the rates of skin cancer since sunscreens have become popular. I think the suggestion that people shouldn't spend any time in the sun without protection is overkill.

Most years I try to maintain enough tan that I can spend an hour in the sun without burning and apply sunscreen to exposed skin if I'm going to be out longer than that.

I agree about the amount part. People look at me like I'm crazy when I slather on sunscreen lotions. I use a lot more than most people. I prefer spray on sunscreens though. I love using Bullfrog sport spray sunscreen because it is quick and protects longer than any other product I tried. It isn't cheap though. Also don't forget to protect your face with a good face sunscreen and your lips with a lip balm with sunscreen.

The best advertising I saw for sunscreen was the women who did landscaping at my university. After working in the sun all day every day even the ones that were only in their early 30's had skin like leather. Report
As far as sunscreen goes, the baby comes first of course, but I am doing much better in the last couple years on me too. I also try to stay out of the sun between 10 and 5 - the obnoxious heat helps! :)
I gave up tanning beds 2 years ago (I was only a casual 5-6 times a year user anyway).
BTW, some birth control pills can result in the same darkened patches on the face if you sunbathe. And they definitely don't resemble a tan. More like a bruise on each cheek. Yuk! Report
I really try to, I have red hair and a fair complexion so I would never tan anyway. I have burned some times when I was younger and I don't want to add that stress to my skin again. My skin still catches the sun through the SPF so I try to have 50 on my face, arms and cleavage. When I am swimming I have spf 20 on my body and if I wear shorts I have spf 20 on them too. But the face, shoulders and arms are most important. Report
I wear sunscreen only when I'm going to be out in the sun for many hours. Report
I'm 22 and I want to protect myself starting young. I wear Aveno 70 spf facial moisturizer everyday under my makeup and I spread it on my arms too. It's nice because it doesn't feel greasy and after it's on I can't feel that it's on after it dries. I hardly every go out in the sun but I put it on anyway for when I'm driving in the car. I lather my 18 month old in 70 spf too before we go outside anywhere. I want my skin to look young and good for a long time. Report
I have never use sunscreen I alway thought my skin color didn't need it. wow reading this was a duh moment for me. Report
I wear sunscreen when I know I am going to be out for a while. I do wear sunscreen on my face and hands all the time! Actually, my face moisturizer has an SPF 30 in it and I feel fairly comfortable with that if I'm only out for short periods of time. I have found that I too can be allergic to sunscreens but tried Avon's Skin So Soft and have been able to wear that all the time with no problem. When I am out all day, on vacation, I lather my body all day long in sunscreen. I too have seen the damaging effects of melanoma's as my mother used to get them all the time and she hardly ever went out in the sun-she got it mostly from driving in the car!!
kath Report
I wear it all the time. I have lot's of freckles from lying in the sun as a young adult and we used oil! this was the 1960's ! Report
I am not a fan of sunscreen (sorry to say). I LOVE to be in the sun and I love to tan. I will wear sunscreen when I am going to be outside in the sun ALL DAY like amusement Park. Report
I know I need to wear it more often. I've been burned before and it's not fun. Report
Most times I do, but sometimes I get lazy and don't. I need to go out and buy more becasue we just ran out. Report
I wish I would be better about it! You all have motivated e to do it. I am like many of you who make sure the kids are wearing it but neglect myself. I do apply when at the beach, swimming, or riding my horse but I need to get in the daily habit. Report
Always. The flight attendant tells you, "put your own oxygen mask on first." We parents must think about what we are REALLY telling our kids when we make them wear it but we go without. At best, we are self-sacrificing too much, at worst we are modeling hypocrisy. Report
I'm fair, have always burned and never tan, and live in a sunny city. So I learned at a very early age to wear my sunscreen. My sister has had skin cancer removed from her neck and face so that is also an added warning to put sunscreen on the back of my neck, ears and everywhere that will be exposed. I do this all year round, not just in sunny weather. Report
not often Report
As a Mary Kay consultant AND licensed Esthetician I wear sunscreen EVERY DAY. After studying the effect of sun damaged skin and working on clients who have to have chemical peels to try and counter the visible effects of sun damage, I have decided being pasty white isn't so bad after all... There are plenty of fake tanning products out there if I ever feel the urge to tan. But after being reminded daily of the effects of not taking care of your skin, the tanning bed will never have a chance with me! Report
Yes, but I still love to be in sun! Report
I usually don't wear sunscreen. I used to wear it a little bit when driving my jeep in the mountains with the top off, but only when I knew I'd be in it for long periods of time. I recently read an article wher it was reported that we as a people are facing a vitamin D shortage due to sunscreen. I've only had 1 small skin cancer and that was over 20 years ago. Report
Everyday I wear it on my exposed areas. I had the non lethal form of skin cancer on my forehead in my early 30's. I'm in my 50's now, & still keep up with my sunscreen regiment. Report
I use a sunscreen faithfully on face, arms, hands. It goes on during my morning wash-up. I also hate the sticky, smelly brands, but I have found that Aveeno & Neutrogena Dry Touch formulas don't feel sticky and they're not stinky. My sister is allergic to sunscreen and uses one of the Neutrogena brands for sensitive skin. Even as a teenager, I never baked myself in the sun and have always looked several years younger than my age. I'm very fair skinned so I burn very easily. My friend spent years in tanning booths and is now paying for it with NUMEROUS basil cell cancers all over her body, particularly her face. She has spent thousands of dollars trying to undo the years of sun damage. PLEASE avoid the tanning salons and don't let society tell you than a tan is necessary to your beauty. Report
@ARMYMOM46, I worked as a life guard for many many years. I slathered myself in 50 SPF sunblock every day. I was always very tan. Sunblock won't prevent a tan and besides, what's more important, looking skinny with skin cancer or being who you are without it?

I try my best to always have sunblock on when i am going to be out for more than a few minutes. My kids too. I will usually put their block on myself with is super SPF 50+. I can definitely see where I miss applying too, OUCH! Report
I always wear sun screen. Before the gray hair started to take over, I was a red head...which means that I burn very easily. Report
I started wearing sunscreen on my face every day when I was in my late teens. Now that I'll be 45 in less than a week, I'm also wearing it on my arms and chest every day (especially from Spring through Fall), whether I go outside or not. When I do plan to spend time in the sun, I apply it again and include my legs. If I am planning a week at the beach, I start applying sunscreen all over a week to a month in advance. The daily applications keep me from getting a bad burn if I over-do it at the beach or if I just happen to be out for other reasons.

As a mom to 3 girls, it's my responsibility to set the example for them. They almost never go out without sunscreen and always re-apply when they are out for any length of time. My youngest (who tans the easiest) insists on wearing the highest SPF she can find and reapplies too.

Oh yea - most people don't think I'm in my 40s, so sunscreen has kept me looking younger too.

As for Vitamin D, I'm naturally deficient and my fair skin keeps me from being out long enough to increase it, so I have to take a supplement. Report
To be honest, no I don't. I am rarely outside before 4PM for any length of time. I work harder at wearing my sunglasses and getting my little one to develop the habit of wearing them to protect our eyes at ALL daylight hours. I'd like us both to prevent damage to our lenses that may lead to cataracts.
When we are outside, I work harder at making sure she is protected than myself because she is so vulnerable and her risks are now. My childhood burns already happened that put me at higher risk more than any current sun exposure even though I do my best to keep myself protected too. Report
I do, every day and reapply several times during the course of the day. I'm a blue eyed, fair-skinned, blond, and I burn with the slightest exposure. A HS classmate's wife died of melanoma and it frightened me badly. Report
I've seen enough melanoma in my line of work to know that I don't leave the house without sunscreen: Neutrogena SPF 75 or 85 on my body and Derma 42 SPF 50 on my face, which, unlike the Neutrogena, doesn't sweat into my eyes. IMHO, everyone, regardless of climate or skin color (Saltychocolate, Needtodrop50, Xena1956 and Shaybrown39, you ROCK!), should be wearing sunscreen; you'll still get enough sun exposure to aid in the production of vitamin D, and UV damage can happen in small amounts while tanning as well as an all-out sunburn. Report
I definitely would! And anyone who doesn't, without good reason should!!

However, like many I'm sure, I'm allergic to sunscreens! However, there are alternatives without the chemical sunscreens. But these are often chalky "sun blocks" which are difficult to wear everyday as it doesn't rub in very well and makes me look like a ghost.

So I take other precautions like wearing a hat and staying out the sun and unfortunately, unless I know I'm at risk of burning from being out all day in the sun, I usually don't wear the sun block - shame on me! Report
RE: Sticky Junk.... That just may save your life!!! -- Try the Neutrogena Sheer Spray on or the Equate brand that is similar. Report
I do wear it most of the time. I sit out in the sun a lot, I have colour, but don't want to get burned. Report
Just have it in my makeup, hate the sticky junk, no matter the brand, it's sticky junk. Report
I put lotion with sunscreen on everyday of the year. My family is very prone to skin cancer. The child I take care of is also lathered down with lotion especially if we are going to be out playing or swimming. Sun= sunscreen Report
I wear sunscreen when I am out in the pool or walking in sunlight. I try to reapply if out for more than an hour or 2. I wear a sunscreen moisturizer on my face daily, but not on my arms and other exposed areas. That is, for day to day in and out exposure. If I know I will be out in the sun I do wear my sunscreen! Report
Yes, wear it daily, using a nice moisturizer or makeup that contains spf 15. If out for a long outdoor adventure or sports, will wear heavier duty sunscreen made for longer wear. Plus, a hat for long outdoor exposure is a must for me. I've avoided bad facial sunburns this way...besides being bad for you, it looks and feels terrible to get burns...and I never tan, it just all peels off. Yuk! Report
I apply sunscreen any time I'm headed out for more than a few minutes. For those who have trouble with it getting on clothes, try applying before you get dressed (I apply while wearing underwear and sports bra) and waiting just a few minutes before you finish dressing. Like GENKIDESU, I have replaced most of my sunscreens with formulas that meet the EWG recommendations. Though I live in Seattle where we don't get a lot of sun, I have very fair skin and know that overcast days are even more dangerous than sunny ones. The only thing I haven't found a replacement for is the stick formula I use for reapplying when I'm out for more than 2 hours, so that's on my list for my next trip to the natural foods store. Report
If I know I'll be in the sun for a long time, I'll put it on. But the rest of the time, I just put some lotion with 15 SPF on in the morning & that's it. I'm indoors most of the day, stuck in an office, so it doesn't matter much. Report
I had a malignant melanoma removed a few years ago. Since then, I treat sun screen as a part of my routine before leaving the house. Report
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