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Repelling The Rays

June 19, 2012

Just in time for the first day of summer tomorrow, the American Chemical Society’s (ACS’) award-winning Bytesize Science video series is offering a new episode on the chemistry of the sunscreen products that millions of people will slather on their skin during the warm months ahead. The video, produced by the ACS Office of Public Affairs, is available at www.BytesizeScience.com.

The video explains that sun exposure can lead not only to sunburn and skin cancer, but premature aging that leaves the skin crinkled and wrinkled with unsightly “age spots.” Fortunately, using sunscreen properly can help protect the skin all summer long. Unfortunately, only 1 out of 3 people use sunscreen regularly, according to a 2012 study in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, as pointed out in the video.

It explains what happens to the sun’s harmful UV rays after people apply sunscreen, and offers pointers on shopping for sunscreen products. For example, look for a three-letter acronym: SPF, or sun protection factor. This number tells how much protection from UV-B rays you get from the sunscreen. For example, an SPF 15 sunscreen delays the onset of a sunburn 15 times longer than no sunscreen at all.

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