Most of us know that spending hours lounging in the sun can be hazardous to our health. But, that information does little to stop us from getting our tan on as soon as summer rolls around. Using a broad-spectrum SPF sunscreen is essential to protecting one’s own skin, however, there is also a new, free and simple tool to help you stay safe when soaking up the sun.
The sunbathing calculator was created by Dr. Małgorzata Koperska of Omni Calculator in order to assist sunbathers in determining approximately how long that they can stay in the sun without risking sunburn.
Said Dr. Koperska, “Sunburns hurt, the peeling skin looks far from sexy, but more importantly, every time you get a sunburn, the risk of getting skin cancer in the future rises. Even if you’re a vitamin D junkie, enjoy the sun safely!”
The calculator, which you can try here, requires less than a minute to complete. The tool’s two modes are simple and advanced. For simple mode, you must record the sun intensity, enter the altitude of wherever you are, indicate whether or not you are in water or snow, identify how naturally fair or tan you are and enter the strength of the SPF you’re using. Advanced mode, in addition to everything else listed above, must also have the UV index of your current location.
Said Dr. Koperska, “It’s fantastic that we’re able to find out how UV rays influence our skin so directly. The equation I used to calculate the maximum safe time spent in the sun sounds a bit complicated. It’s the skin phototype coefficient times the cream’s SPF, divided by the current UV index, altitude coefficient, and reflecting ground coefficient.”
For the advanced mode, you’ll need to find out the UV index of your current location, in addition to everything else listed above. “It’s fantastic that we’re able to find out how UV rays influence our skin so directly,” Dr. Koperska told Bustle. “The equation I used to calculate the maximum safe time spent in the sun sounds a bit complicated. It’s the skin phototype coefficient times the cream’s SPF, divided by the current UV index, altitude coefficient, and reflecting ground coefficient.”
Despite how much you want a golden summer glow, keep in mind that dermatologists agree that it is not worth the risk of serious skin damage, or skin cancer. Dr. Dendy Engelman, a dermatologic surgeon at Manhattan Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery, asserts that higher SPF sunscreens are necessary for proper protection from the sun.
Said Engleman, “When I talk to my patients about whether we need an SPF 50 or 100, the reality is we never apply the amount in practicality that they do when they’re testing it in the studies. Rule of thumb, take whatever is on the bottle and divide it by two and that is about what you’re getting. So in that line of thinking, the higher, the better — go higher to convey more protection. The newest studies substantiate that.”
Although you won’t be able to get as tan with sunblock on, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Fortunately, this new calculator tool, allows you to know when to get out of the sun even if you are using a low SPF sunscreen.