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You can be forgiven for not having rushed to the newsstand to buy the latest episode of Wired Magazine to look for information about sunscreen.

In fact you might wonder why Wired Magazine would have an article on sunscreen at all. Aren’t Wired’s readers all tech heads and nerds, stuck inside playing video games while the rest of us splash at the pools and on the beaches?

Well, it turns out there’s a bit of science involved in sunscreen. But also, there’s a whole lot of mystery.

Sunscreen isn’t scientifically proven

One of the weird facts that comes up in the Wired article by author George Zaidan, is that only one sunscreen product was ever tested. It showed moderate protection against sun damage, or what we call sunburn.

It didn’t say anything about whether it actually protects us against cancer. This is only something that we have inferred, thinking that if it prevents sunburn then it prevent cancer.

But we don’t know.

However, we do know – even without scientific experiments – that sunscreen keeps us from getting sunburn, and that’s what really counts on a long day at Aqua Adventures or some other outdoor adventure park!

You shouldn’t rub it in

The whole point of sunscreen is to protect your derma – your outer layers of skin. So when you slather on a bunch of sunscreen, you should work to make sure it covers your skins, and then stop.

Rubbing it in doesn’t seem to add to the protection and, by forcing the reflective, protective liquid deeper and deeper, you lose out on some of the protection.

So, do like Mark Zuckerberg, and slather on the zinc oxide. Okay, maybe not THAT much.

SPF Matters

As the SPF numbers increase in your sunscreen, you reduce the chance for sunburn. Every time you double the SPF, you double your protection.

So for instance, a 50 SPF product is almost twice as effective as a 30 SPF product. Pick the highest protection you can.

SPF does NOT affect how LONG you can be in the sun. See the next item:

All sunscreen wears off over time

Whether you’re sitting in the sun sweating, or jumping in the pool and swimming, you are slowly losing your protection over time. (And you are still being exposed to UV radiation, which is what causes your skin to break down, burn, and eventually potentially develop cancer.

You should reapply your sunscreen often. This is also because you probably didn’t put enough on in the first place. In the lab, they smear a visible layer of sunscreen over their subjects, much more than a person typically puts on before going out.

So sunscreen up, everyone, and get outside!

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