Having fun and staying safe in the sun include understanding and implementing proper suncare, read our Q&A and Tips to learn more!


Questions and Answers


What is SPF (Sun Protection Factor)?

SPF is a measure of a sunscreen’s ability to prevent harmful Ultra Violet (UV) rays from damaging the skin. The higher the SPF, the more protection it offers. SPF 15 filters about 93%, SPF 30 filters about 97%, and SPF 50 filters about 98% of incoming UVB rays. Recent research shows that most SPFs higher than 50 do not add additional protection.

People who are more susceptible to sun induced cancer should choose sunscreens that offer high SPF. However, no sunscreen blocks all UV rays, so remember to take additional precautions in addition to applying sunscreen.

What is the difference between chemical UV filters and mineral/physical UV filters?

Most traditional suncare lotions rely on chemical compositions as their active UV protection. However, recent research has shown that many of the chemical filters have negative effects on our bodies. Examples of common chemical filters include avobenzone, oxybenzone, para-amino benzoic acid (PABA), octyl salicylate, and octinoxate.

Mineral based chemical-free filters have recently been developed to provide high-level protection against both UVA and UVB rays. This has allowed a new category of “Natural Suncare” to emerge, offering great protection without the harmful effects of chemical filters. The most common mineral filters are Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide.


All Safe Harbor™ Suncare products are completely free from chemical UV filters and only use mineral based filters Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide.


What is Broad Spectrum Protection against UVA and UVB Radiation?
Radiation from the sun includes both UVA and UVB rays. Both types of rays are harmful to the skin and affect it in different ways. UVA penetrates the inner layers of the dermis to cause long term damage, and UVB rays are primarily responsible for the “burning” of the skin’s surface. Sunscreens that protect against both UVA and UVB rays can be labeled as providing “Broad Spectrum” protection.

All Safe Harbor™ Suncare products are fully compliant with the FDA’s Broad Spectrum labeling regulations, and offer protection against both UVA and UVB rays.


What is the UV index?

The UV Index is a predicted measure of the expected risk of high exposure to harmful UV rays emanating from the sun. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publishes a UV Index forecast, ranging from 1-11 based on information from the National Weather Service, with 1 representing the lowest risk, and 11 the highest. The National Weather Service calculates the UV Index forecast for most ZIP codes across the U.S., and the EPA publishes this information online. To view the online index, and for more information on planning safe activities in the sun, click here.


Can sunscreen be waterproof?

According to the FDA, no sunscreen can be labeled as “Waterproof.” However, some sunscreens, including all Safe Harbor™ products, do offer a level of water resistance. Sunscreen products are labeled with how long they will be effective once exposed to water, usually 40- or 80-minutes.

See our Tips section below for more information on how to protect yourself when swimming.

Tips for Staying Safe in the Sun

  • Slip, Slop, Slap! The American Cancer Society uses this as a fun reminder to Slip on a Shirt, Slop on some Sunscreen, Slap on a Hat.
  • It is highly recommended to use Broad-Spectrum UV radiation blockers with SPF of 30 or greater whenever you are going to be in the sun. All Safe Harbor™ products meet this recommendation.
  • Mineral based sunscreens, including all Safe Harbor™ products, are effective right after application. However, traditional chemical based sunscreens should be applied approximately 30 minutes before exposure to the sun.
  • Periodically reapply sunscreen to ensure continuous protection. A good rule of thumb is to reapply lotion every 2 hours, taking care to rub the cream into all exposed areas of the body (don’t forget lips and ears!). Each sunscreen has its own instructions regarding how to apply and reapply, so remember to read the label.
  • Even if labeled as “Water Resistant,” sunscreens can wash off when you swim or sweat and then use a towel to dry off. Remember to reapply after exposure to water.
  • Avoid being outdoors during the middle of the day as UV radiation tends to be strongest around midday. If you do intend to be outdoors during this time, remember to follow all of the precautions listed here, and try to find as much shade as possible.
  • Cover up skin with clothing and hats whenever possible. The more of your skin that is covered, the more protected you will be. As a general rule, darker colors protect more than lighter ones, and tightly woven fabric protects more than loosely woven.
  • Wear Sunglasses! Your eyes and the skin around them are delicate and prone to sun damage if not protected. Wear sunglasses that protect as much area around the eyes as possible, taking care to ensure that the lenses are certified as offering UV protection.
  • Keep your kids safe! The FDA recommends that you should keep infants under the age of 6 months out of the sun completely. Limit the exposure to sun for children older than 6 months, and take care to use a sunscreen that is suitable for their tender young skin when exposed to direct sunlight.

For even more information, check out these resources

Be Safe in the Sun

Sunscreens Explained

Keeping Your Kids Safe in the Sun

Action Steps for Sun Safety