It’s time to slather sunscreen on your skin, but be sure to check the product’s expiry date to ensure protection against harsh ultraviolet (UV) rays from too much sun exposure.
So advised the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as the country’s dry season hits its peak and brings on blistering temperatures that have not, however, discouraged beachgoers and sunbathers from enjoying the outdoors.
In its advisory, the FDA reminded consumers to always read the label and check the expiration date of sunscreen and sunblock products, as some of their ingredients “degrade over time.”
“All consumers are advised to read the label and follow the instructions on the amount that can be applied on the body, when to apply sunscreen before actual exposure, [and] the frequency of reapplication, among other instructions and precautions,” the advisory said.
“Remember that not all sunscreen [products] have the same ingredients. Choose a product that suits your skin. Be aware of the expiration date because some sunscreen ingredients might degrade over time,” it added.
The FDA advisory also pointed out that sunscreen products come in various preparations: lotion, cream, gel or ointment, and consumers must know what suits them. Sunscreen creams are best applied on the face and for dry skin, while gel preparations are good for hairy areas of the skin, the FDA added.
Water-resistant sunblock products are best applied when going out for a swim or when sweating profusely, the advisory said.
“Regardless of which sunscreen preparation you choose, be sure to apply it generously to achieve full UV-ray protection,” it added.
The FDA said overexposure to the two harmful ultraviolet rays—the UVA and UVB rays—from the sun could lead to skin cancer.
UVA rays are those that easily pass through glass windows and cause wrinkles and premature skin aging, while UVB rays are those that burn the skin.
To avoid exposure from these harmful rays, one must keep indoors between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., when the sun rays are most intense. “Always seek shade or use an umbrella,” the FDA said.
Aside from applying sunscreen or sunblock, one must also wear protective clothing before going out under the sun. This includes long-sleeve shirt, pants, a hat and sunglasses, the agency added.
The FDA also warned against applying sunblock to babies less than six months old since their skin is very sensitive.
The advisory added: “When applied to older babies, apply sunscreen only to skin not covered by clothing and never apply it around the eyes.”
To keep babies protected from the sun, they must be kept in the shade and clothed with appropriate outfit and cover. They must also be kept hydrated by being given plenty of fluids, the FDA advised.
The agency also encouraged consumers to report sunscreen products that have caused adverse reactions through its e-mail address ([email protected]) to facilitate an investigation.