Sunscreen is essential to protecting your skin from harmful ultraviolet rays. However, not all sunscreens are created equal. With many different options on the market, it can be hard to differentiate.
Let’s jump in and decode sunscreen.
For starters, when it comes to understanding sunscreen, it’s best to look beyond SPF (sun protection factor). Typically, SPF rates how effective the sunscreen is at blocking Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from your skin. However, research shows that UVA rays also increase the risk of skin cancer, and significantly contribute to wrinkles and aging.
● Look for sunscreens labeled “broad” or “wide spectrum” as they protect against both UVA and UVB rays.
● To ensure you’re getting UVA protection, look for one of the following ingredients: ecamsule, avobenzone, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, sulisobenzone or zinc oxide.
● Don’t go lower than SPF 15.
● If you have oily skin or are prone to acne, look for water-based sunscreen.
When it comes to applying sunblock, experts say the biggest mistake is simply not using enough. In fact, studies show many people only get about 10-25% of the full benefits of sunscreen. A general rule of thumb is to use about one ounce or a handful for your whole body.
Here are a few more tips to maximize sunscreen usage:
● The best time to apply is 15 to 30 minutes before venturing out under the sun.
● Pay close attention to areas that are easily missed, like your ears and nose, your calves and your feet.
● Reapply every 2 hours, but if you’ve been sweating or in the water, reapply regularly.
● Look out for expiration dates as sunscreens lose their effectiveness after time.
It’s important to remember that, no matter the season, sunscreen should always be used. Afterall, it not only protects you from harmful UV rays, it helps prevent wrinkles and premature aging.
As part of your annual preventative care routine, it’s critical to be screened for skin cancer. Take a look here at more ways to stay on top of your health.