1510 South 2nd Street
Monroe, LA 71202

Ph. 318-323-2883
Fx. 318-323-8732

Pharmacy Hours:
Monday - Friday:
9am - 6pm
Saturday:
9am - 1pm
Sunday:
Closed

Pharmacy Q&A

Q:
What is an SPF?
A:
SPF stands for sun protection factor. Sunscreens are rated or classified by the strength of their SPF. The SPF numbers on the packaging can range from as low as 2 to greater than 50. These numbers refer to the product's ability to deflect the sun's burning rays (UVB). A sunscreen's SPF rating is calculated by comparing the amount of time needed to produce a sunburn on sunscreen-protected skin to the amount of time needed to cause a sunburn on unprotected skin.

For example, if a sunscreen is rated SPF 2 and a person who would normally turn red after 10 minutes of exposure in the sun uses it, it would take 20 minutes of exposure for the skin to turn red. A sunscreen with an SPF of 15 would allow that person to multiply that initial burning time by 15, which means it would take 15 times longer to burn, or 150 minutes. Even with this protection, sunscreen photo degrades (breaks down) and rubs off with normal wear, so it needs to be reapplied approximately every two hours.

Dermatologists strongly recommend using a broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB protection) water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater year-round for all skin types. This will help protect against sunburn, premature aging (e.g., age spots and wrinkles) and skin cancer
Q:
When should sunscreen be used?
A:
Sunscreen should be applied every day to exposed skin, and not just if you are going to be in the sun. UVB rays cannot penetrate glass windows, but UVA rays can, leaving you prone to these damaging effects if unprotected.

For days when you are going to be indoors, apply sunscreen on the areas not covered by clothing, such as the face and hands. Sunscreens can be applied under makeup, or alternatively, there are many cosmetic products available that contain sunscreens for daily use. Sun protection is the principal means of preventing premature aging and skin cancer. It's never too late to protect yourself from the sun and minimize your future risk of skin cancer.

Don't reserve the use of sunscreen only for sunny days. Even on a cloudy day, up to 80 percent of the sun's ultraviolet rays can pass through the clouds. In addition, sand reflects 25 percent of the sun's rays and snow reflects 80 percent of the sun's rays.
Q:
What type of sunscreen should I use, and what ingredients should I look for?
A:
There are so many types of sunscreen that selecting the right one can be quite confusing.
Sunscreens are available in many forms, including ointments, creams, gels, lotions, sprays and wax sticks. The type of sunscreen you choose is a matter of personal choice. Creams are best for individuals with dry skin, but gels are preferable in hairy areas, such as the scalp or male chest.

Sticks are good around the eyes. Creams typically yield a thicker application than lotions and are best for the face. There also are sunscreens made for specific purposes, such as sensitive skin and for use on babies.

Ideally, sunscreens should be water-resistant, so they cannot be easily removed by sweating or swimming, and should have an SPF of 30 or higher that provides broad-spectrum coverage against both UVA and UVB light.
Q:
How much sunscreen should be used, and how often should it be applied?
A:
Sunscreens should be applied to dry skin 15 to 30 minutes BEFORE going outdoors. When using sunscreen, be sure to apply it to all exposed areas and pay particular attention to the face, ears, hands and arms. Coat the skin liberally and rub it in thoroughly — most people apply only 25 to 50 percent of the recommended amount of sunscreen.

One ounce, enough to fill a shot glass, is considered the amount needed to cover the exposed areas of the body properly. Don't forget that lips get sunburned, too, so apply a lip balm that contains sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Sunscreens should be reapplied about every two hours, or after swimming or perspiring heavily. Even so-called "water-resistant" sunscreens may lose their effectiveness after 40 minutes in the water. Sunscreens rub off as well as wash off, so if you've towel-dried, reapply sunscreen for continued protection.

Also, there are a number of combination cosmetic products, such as moisturizers that contain sunscreen, but it is important to remember that these products also need to be reapplied to achieve continued UV protection.