Quiz: How Much Do You Actually Know About Sun Protection?

All hail sunscreen and its ability to help protect you from UV damage. Sure, the skincare staple might already be in your beauty bag, but do you know how to properly use it? Learning how often to apply it and how to decipher its label can ensure you get the most out of your sun protection. Take the quiz, below, to test your sun safety knowledge and learn more about the best ways to thoroughly protect your complexion during all of your summer adventures.

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The answer: True. According to dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research at The Mount Sinai Hospital, UVA rays are what provoke the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and up your risk of skin cancer, while UVB rays are associated with burns. However, exposure to any UV light can cause long-lasting skin damage, so protect yourself from all exposure.

Look for sunscreens with the words “broad spectrum” on the label, which means that it shields skin from both types. Australian Gold’s Botanical Sunscreen Collection uses physical blockers like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to deflect UV rays. The best part: the line includes a fine-mist spray and lightweight lotion that make it simple to reapply throughout the day.

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The answer: At least every two hours. According to dermatologist Dhaval Bhanusali, MD, of Hudson Dermatology and Laser in New York City, the rule of thumb is to reapply sunscreen every two hours and as soon as you break a sweat or get wet.

“Sunscreens lose their effectiveness as you use them,” Dr. Zeichner says. In other words, chemical sunscreens can become inactivated as they filter UV light, while mineral sunscreens can clump on the skin overtime, providing less even coverage.

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The answer: False. “The ambient temperature has nothing to do with your susceptibility to the effects of ultraviolet light,” says dermatologist Joe McGowan, MD, who specializes in Mohs micrographic surgery (the procedure used to treat different types of skin cancers). SPF should be part of your daily routine, year-round. Any time your skin is exposed to the sun it is at risk for sun damage, regardless of what season it is or how chilly it is outside.

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The answer: Definitely! You should still be wearing SPF, whether you’re lounging poolside or reading a book indoors. Remember, sitting near or simply passing by a window during the day still exposes you to the sun’s rays. “Unless you’re in a room with no windows, you’re not off the hook in wearing your sunscreen if you are indoors,” Dr. Zeichner says, pointing out that UVA rays can penetrate right through window glass with the same intensity, so beware.

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The answer: It depends. Think twice about using leftover sunscreens from past summers—they have an expiration date for a reason. It indicates when your sunscreen stops being the most stable or effective. “After that date, no guarantees can be made for stability or potential bacterial contamination,” he says.

Dr. Zeichner says that sunscreen should be stable for three years from the time it was produced. “Since you might not know how long it has been sitting on the shelf in the store, I typically recommend purchasing a new sunscreen every season,” he says.

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