Warm, sunny days are just around the corner! Fill your beach bag with sunglasses, a towel, flip flops, a portable speaker, and plenty of sunscreen. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Because of this, sun-lovers should be well versed on sunscreen and how to choose the best brand and SPF.
Which sunscreen should you choose?
The American Dermatology Association recommends one that’s labeled “broad spectrum” because that means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays cause wrinkles and age spots and UVB rays cause sunburn. Both can cause skin cancer.
Should you choose spray, lotion, stick, or gel?
This mostly boils down to personal preference. The best sunscreen is one you actually use.
What’s the deal with SPF?
SPF is a measure of how much UVB light a sunscreen can filter out. It’s typically suggested to use at least 30 SPF, which blocks about 97% of UVB rays. If you’re going to be outside for a long period of time, apply SPF 30 a half hour before leaving the house. When you’re outside, reapply every two hours. And if you’re swimming, reapply whenever you get out of the water. If you want to be extra cautious, wear protective clothing (such as hats and long dresses) and stay in the shade.
Know your skin type. It matters.
If you have oily or acne-prone skin, make sure you get “non-comedogenic” sunscreen, which won’t clog up your pores. If you have dry skin, look for sunscreen with hydrating ingredients. For sensitive skin, choose a mineral sunscreen. This type of sunscreen contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to protect your skin and won’t burn your eyes. Chemical sunscreen, on the other hand, is formulated with ingredients that block UV rays but can irritate your skin.