Health Shorts: High altitudes require high SPF in sunscreen

When you’re vacationing in the mountains, be sure to bring along high-level sun protection. For every 1,000 feet of elevation, you’ll get 8 to 10 percent greater exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

In a study designed to show the benefits of high-SPF (sun protective factor) sunscreen, researchers found that golfers using SPF 70-plus sunscreen had significantly greater protection than those using SPF 15 sunscreen. None of those using SPF 70-plus but about one third of those using SPF 15 sunscreen developed sunburn after 4.5 hours of golfing.

[SOURCE: Fran Lowry, “High SPF essential at high altitudes to protect against sun damage,” Reuters Health Information, March 8, 2010]

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Last Updated July 01, 2010