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The star of our solar system, the sun is nearly 95 million miles away from Earth. While that distance is the perfect amount for life on our planet, that doesn’t mean we ignore its sheer power and potential for harm to our skin. Before you spend additional time outdoors, read these quick sunscreen dos and don’ts as a reminder to keep your homeschool family safe.

DO plan ahead.

According to VCU Health, applying sunscreen a half hour before you go outside allows sunscreen to absorb in the skin and offer better protection.

DON’T use expired sunscreen.

It may not grow moldy like that container of leftovers hiding in the back of your fridge, but sunscreen does have a shelf life. If your sunscreen doesn’t have an expiration date, Mayo Clinic recommends writing your date of purchase on the bottle and throwing away any unused lotion after three years.

DO use on all skin types.

Although those with fair skin may seem more vulnerable to the sun, all skin deserves protection from harmful UV rays.

DON’T forget your ears and face.

Sprays can seem convenient and less messy, but they struggle to match the evenness and thickness that a lotion can provide. For faces and ears, sunscreen sticks are a nice alternative to sprays and lotions.

DO use more than you think.

Oscar Wilde did indeed write “everything in moderation,” but the Irish poet forgot about sunscreen. In this case, be generous with your usage.

DON’T only use sunscreen.

Hats today may not have the same popularity as they did in the late 19th century and early 20th century (with the rise of driving in a covered car with a low roof apparently taking some blame on that decline), but that doesn’t mean you can’t look trendy in a sun or bucket hat.

DO reapply often.

Parents who read the fine print understand one application doesn’t last for an entire day. Be sure to reapply if you’re out for an extended amount of time, even on a cloudy day.

DON’T get arrogant when you use a high SPF.

Sun protection factor (SPV) measures the amount of protection a sunscreen offers. According to the American Cancer Society, SPF filters 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30 filters 97%, SPF 50 filters 98%, and SPF 100 filters about 99%. However, few people use the actual amount they are supposed to, negating a lot of the benefits a higher SPF can offer.

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