Quiz Whiz

Sunscreen Quiz

Clothing is the most surefire protection against sun damage, and sunscreen is the next best.

Be sure not to overlook any exposed areas such as your ears. If you do get a burn, it’s important to drink lots of water, as burns draw moisture to the skin, away from other areas, and can lead to dehydration. To prevent burns and other damage while enjoying the sun, test your sunscreen smarts here.

1. Using sunscreen can block natural production of vitamin D from sun exposure.

a) True

b) False

2. There are two types of rays from the sun, UVA and UVB. Which ones produce a sunburn?

a) UVA

b) UVB

c) Both

3. The SPF (sun protection factor) rating on sunscreens indicates its level of protection against:

a) UVA rays

b) UVB rays

c) Both

4. Which of these sunscreen ingredients is most likely to cause allergic reactions?

a) Avobenzone

b) Zinc oxide

c) Mexoryl SX

d) Oxybenzone

5. All lipsticks and lip balms protect lips from the sun by providing a barrier.

a) True

b) False

6. Antioxidant vitamin A (retinyl palmitate) can help protect skin or lips from the sun.

a) True

b) False

7. Natural sunscreens often contain zinc dioxide, titanium dioxide, or both. Which of these is most effective at protecting against both UVA and UVB rays?

a) Zinc dioxide

b) Titanium dioxide

c) Both

8. How often should sunscreen be applied?

a) Every half hour

b) Every hour

c) Every 2 hours

d) Every 3 hours

e) Every 4 hours


1. a) Using sunscreen can decrease the amount of vitamin D your body produces from being in the sun. Supplements and fortified foods can provide additional vitamin D.

2. b) UVB rays produce a sunburn, but UVA rays penetrate deeper layers of skin and cause wrinkles, premature skin aging, and age spots. Too much exposure to both types of rays increases risk for skin cancers.

3. b) SPF refers only to UVB rays and does not indicate level of protection from UVA. A higher SPF indicates protection for a longer period. If a sunscreen is not labelled as “broad spectrum” or does not specifically state that it protects against both UVA and UVB rays, it may filter out only UVB.

4. d) Research shows that oxybenzone can cause allergic reactions and, in lab studies, had a weak estrogenic effect, which may disrupt hormones.

5. b) Lip balms and lipsticks will protect lips only if they contain sunscreen, which should have an SPF of 30 or higher.

6. b) Vitamin A in skincare products can be beneficial, but when it is exposed to the sun, it may trigger development of skin tumors or lesions, according to an analysis of studies by the Environmental Working Group, which cautions against using sunscreens that contain vitamin A. The ingredient is also called retinyl acetate, retinyl linoleate, or retinol.

7. a) Zinc dioxide provides the most protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

8. c) The American Academy of Dermatology recommends applying sunscreen to dry skin about 15 minutes before going outdoors, then reapplying every two hours. You should also reapply sunscreen after swimming or sweating, as moisture can wash it away.

Check Out Your Sunscreen

To check your sunscreen for toxins and effectiveness, visit ewg.org/sunscreen