Sunday, August 22, 2010

To reapply or not. Is that in question?

I was talking with a client the other day about using sunscreen. I was explaining about the need to reapply, especially if you are exercising. I went on to say that I especially needed to do this since I always wipe my face once I start sweating, which no doubt takes just about all the sunscreen away too. She said she didn’t wipe, which was kind of a revelation to me. You mean some people don’t feel the need to wipe the dripping sweat off their faces?

If you are like me and you do wipe the sweat off your face, know that an appreciable amount of any sunscreen you have applied to your face (or wherever) is coming off during the wiping process. 

Today, for instance, I was running a trail, and it was hot. I wiped and wiped and keep internally commenting on the fact that basically my face was left sunscreenless—although I did (and always do) have a hat on. Did I reapply my sunscreen? No. Do you in that situation? Since realistically I’m not going to stop my run to reapply sunscreen, I just know that I will be getting sun exposure with little or no sun protection by the end of my run. I suppose I could reapply if I took a break to catch my breath or to take in the beauty of the Colorado foothills. (Note to self!)

The moral of this story is: Reapply your sunscreen! And if you can’t or don’t, just be aware you are putting in clock-time for UV radiation. Usually you’ll be able to reapply if you’re more stationary (like at the beach or on a boat). But if you’re out exercising and unable to reapply, hopefully you enjoyed your outdoor activity, regardless.

As I mention in almost any article on sun protection, please—if you haven’t already—see a dermatologist for a full-body mole check. It’s a good idea to do this annually.

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