What’s Your Sun Safety IQ? (Quiz)

Before you soak up the summer sun, take our sun safety quiz to find out whether you’re keeping your skin healthy.

True or False: Too little sun can be bad for you.

Answer: TRUE. Sunshine serves a critical function in the body that sunscreen appears to inhibit: the production of vitamin D. The main source of vitamin D in the body is sunshine, and the compound is enormously important to health–it strengthens bones and the immune system, reduces the risk of various cancers (including breast, colon, kidney, and ovarian cancers) and regulates at least 1,000 different genes governing virtually every tissue in the body.

You should slather on sunscreen if you’re going to be out in the sun (by the pool, at the beach, or playing an outdoor sport) for longer than:
A. 5 minutes
B. 20 minutes
C. 40 minutes
D. An hour

Answer: B, 20 MINUTES. If you’re lounging pool-side or joining a game of beach volleyball, slather on the SPF 30. But if you’re just running errands outdoors, no need! The only part of your body that should always be protected is your face.

True or False: You can diminish the sun spots on your face.

Answer: TRUE. Sun spots occur when too much exposure to UV rays activate and damage the skin’s pigment-producing cells, called melanocytes, causing them to crank out excess pigment (also called melanin) or to clump together and form dark spots on the skin. The good news? There are things you can do to help them fade, like applying a yogurt face mask (the lactic acid lightens and exfoliates skin), using a face serum enriched with Vitamin C, and running a cotton ball soaked in raw pineapple juice over your face.

When the Environmental Working Group analyzed 785 sunscreen products on store shelves, what percentage of them did they find were made from safe ingredients and offered adequate sun protection?
A. 100%
B. 73%
C. 38%
D. 16%

Answer: D, 16%. Not all sunscreens are created equal: brand matters. Find out how your sunscreen fared here.

True or False: High SPF (50+) sunscreens are better for you than lower SPF products.

Answer: FALSE. There are more high SPF products than ever before, but no proof that they’re better. In fact, in 2007 the FDA wrote that SPF values higher than 50 were “inherently misleading,” given that “there is no assurance that the specific values themselves are in fact truthful.”


Megan Martin
Megan Martin4 years ago

LOVE to soak in the sun. Guess I'll have to change brands of sunscreen though.

Aud Nordby
Aud n4 years ago


Elisabeth T.
Elisabeth T4 years ago

Good article, thank you...

Ben Oscarsito
Ben O4 years ago

My Sun Safety IQ is not so good I'm afraid...

Nona E.
Nona E4 years ago

Interesting information. I'm attempting to learn more about sunscreens - mostly I avoid the sun.

Danuta Watola
Danuta W5 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

paul m.
paul m5 years ago


Dale Overall

Interesting article and sunscreen is also important for going skiing as the sun reflects intensely off of snow and many do not know this.

Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton5 years ago

Thanks for the info.

Peter V.
Peter V5 years ago

Wow, I'm impressed that this article actually has some accurate information rather than the usual alarmist nonsense of "Never let the sun's rays touch your skin or you will instantly die! Always slather your skin with untested carcinogenic chemicals (sunscreens) and you'll be safe!"

The truth is that moderate sun exposure is actually very healthy, provided you don't allow yourself to burn or even turn pink. The vitamin D produced by sun exposure has been shown to PREVENT cancer, as well as diabetes, depression, obesity, and countless other ailments. Vitamin D (which is really a hormone, not a vitamin) is essential to many bodily functions, and the majority of Americans are deficient.

Sunscreens often contain chemicals that have been found to be carcinogenic. If you're going to use a sunscreen, make sure it's 100% natural with NO synthetic chemicals.

Thanks for getting it mostly right.