Sunscreen 101: A Guide to Sun Protection

Aquaman Pools LLC is all about having fun in the sun, splashing in the water or simply relaxing poolside with a good read and a perhaps a refreshing beverage. But as the Arizona sun starts bearing down about the state, outdoor lovers and swimmers also should take care to protect their skin from the sun while out and about or hanging in and around the pool. Aquaman Pools offers a quick sunscreen reference guide for protecting the skin while enjoying the outdoors as the weather heats up.

According to the American Cancer Society, “sunlight is the main source of UV radiation… and the strength of the UV rays reaching the ground depends on a number of factors.” These factors include the season, time of day, distance from the equator, altitude, clouds, reflectional surfaces, and the contents of the air. Each of these has a unique impact on how UV rays can get through to the ground (or one’s skin!).

For example, those aforementioned reflective surfaces like sand, snow, pavement and yes, water, can actually lead to an increase in UV exposure and UV rays can get through the ground even through clouds. As for the time of day, UV rays are strongest between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Ultimately, however, the organization notes that the “amount of UV exposure a person gets depends on the strength of the rays, the length of time the skin is exposed and whether the skin is protected with clothing or sunscreen.”

Aside from a simple sunburn, sun damage can affect the skin in many ways and even result in melanoma, so it’s very important to protect oneself with sunscreen when out in the sun. Especially as it gets hotter and heat advisories are in effect, it’s important to stay out of direct sun during those peak hours as noted above.

The American Cancer Society advises that not all sunscreens are created equal. For example, sunscreen should offer “broad spectrum protection,” which means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays, the latter of which is the main cause of sunburn and skin cancers. UVA rays also can contribute to skin cancer and premature aging.

The site also suggests choosing a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 or higher. The higher the SPF, the more protection the sunscreen offers but note while it sounds like a big difference between SPF 30 and SPF 100, SPF 30 sunscreens filter out 97 percent of UVB rays while SPF 100 varieties filter out about 99 percent.

“Water resistant” and “waterproof” are also not one and the same. And the American Cancer Society warns that despite labels, no sunscreen is actually “waterproof” or “sweatproof.” Sunscreens that are labeled water resistant are required to “specify whether it lasts for 40 minutes or 80 minutes while swimming or sweating.” Regardless, the American Cancer Society suggests reapplying sunscreen every two hours — or more frequently if swimming and sweating.

Remember that as the weather heats up and the pool becomes a more central place of entertainment, relaxation and a place to cool down, the professional pool technicians at Aquaman Pools are available to ensure the pool is clean, crystal clear and safe for swimming all season long.


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