Summer sun is here in Seattle and we couldn’t be happier!  This is the time of year we receive many questions about sunscreen and we wanted to share the recommendations from the American Academy of Dermatology.  If you want further information about sunscreen and the recommendations below please visit  And as always, please feel free to call a Union Center Pharmacist with questions as well.  Enjoy the summer sun!

Who should use sunscreen and when should it be used?

  • Everyone should use sunscreen to protect their skin from sunburn, early skin aging and skin cancer
  • Sunscreen should be used every day that you will be outside.  Even on cloudy days the sun’s harmful UV rays can penetrate your skin.  Snow, sand, and water increase the need for sunscreen because they reflect the sun’s rays
  • To maximize your protection, dermatologist also recommend seeking shade between 10am and 2pm (when the sun’s rays are the strongest), wearing protective clothing like sunglasses and long sleeved shirts, and to avoid tanning beds

What sunscreen should be used and how much is needed?

  • Use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, which blocks 97 percent of the sun’s UVB rays. Higher-number SPFs block slightly more of the sun’s UVB rays, but no sunscreen can block 100 percent of the sun’s UVB rays.
  • All sunscreens should be applied approximately every two hours or according to time on the label, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.
  • Choose a water resistant sunscreen
  • Use enough sunscreen to generously coat all skin that will be not be covered by clothing.  One ounce of sunscreen is the suggest amount to cover the exposed areas of the body.  One ounce of sunscreen is about enough to fill a shot glass.
  • Apply sunscreen to dry skin 15 minutes BEFORE going outdoors.
  • Don’t forget about your lips!  Apply a lip balm or lipstick that contains sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

How often do I check my skin for damage?

  • Check your birthday suit on your birthday.If you notice anything changing, itching or bleeding on your skin, see a board-certified dermatologist. Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early


Kim Swigart, PharmD, 
Pharmacy Manager
 at Kelley-Ross Union Center Pharmacy