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For parents: 6 facts about applying sunscreen

Tuesday, May 25, 2010; C10

-- Most sunscreens need time to react with substances in your skin before they become effective. Be sure to apply them at least 20 minutes before you go out in the sun.

-- Sunscreens containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide create an invisible barrier to UV rays on top of your skin and start working immediately.

-- SPF stands for sun protection factor and determines how long that sunscreen will allow you to stay in the sun without burning. Use at least an SPF 15.

-- The Environmental Protection Agency puts out a national UV index forecast map, with sun protection advice, every day. You can even put in your own Zip code! Go to http://www.epa.gov/sunwise/uvindex.html.

-- Sun-protective clothing, which has a sunscreen in the fabric, really works (but can be expensive).

-- SunGuard is a laundry additive that gives your clothes long-lasting sun protection when you add a packet to your wash.

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