It’s hot outside and many of us will be enjoying the weekend either by escaping to the beach or staying local.
We have compiled a comprehensive list of what you need to know about sunscreen by deciphering all the warnings and combining all the tips into one ultimate sunscreen guide to protect your skin from the sun.
1- Stick with SPF 30
It will protect against 97% of UVB rays. After that the percentage of UVB rays blocked doesn’t go up significantly. SPF 50 will block 98% of UVB rays whereas SPF 70 will block 98.5%. (Sunscreens with an SPF lower than 15 come with a warning now).
2- The right amount
Most adults need about 1 ounce (the size of a shot glass) to fully cover their bodies. Many sunscreens come in bottles of 3 to 6 ounces, so, that’s 3 to 6 applications. If you’re using the same bottle of sunscreen in July that you opened in May, you’re not using enough. And don’t neglect often missed body parts like the ears, neck, lips, hands and feet.
3- Broad Spectrum
Choose a sunscreen that is labeled ‘broad-spectrum,’ it protects against both UVB and UVA rays.
4- Do not use these
Buyers should not buy sunscreens that have avobenzone and oxybenzone:
- Avobenzone products are not stable. They break down once formulated and they break down when they neutralize UV rays on your skin.
- Oxybenzone products are absorbed through our skin and the chemical has been demonstrated to be a hormone disruptor.
There is also some controversy concerning alpha hydroxy acids (AHA’s) in sunscreens. You may want to be extra cautious by avoiding sunscreens. But remember, not using sunscreen is far more dangerous than exposure to its ingredients.
5- No such thing as waterproof sunscreen
There is ‘water-resistant’ sunscreen, but it will come off your skin after heavy sweating, or a dip in the ocean or pool. The FDA recently prohibited use of the term “waterproof” because it causes people to falsely believe sunscreen can’t come off. A water-resistant sunscreen is effective for either 40 minutes or 80 minutes then you need to reapply.
SPF starts to expire the second you apply it (even if you’re inside or it’s dark out).
7- When to apply
Apply the sunscreen 10 minutes prior to sun exposure.
8- Buy this
Match the right sunscreen to your skin type. Mineral zinc oxide based products are recommended because of the way zinc works. It is also one of only two FDA approved broad spectrum ingredients to block UV-A1 rays.
9- Wear protective clothing
You need to wear a full brimmed hat and sun protective clothing when possible for the best protection. Sunscreen cannot block every single type of light ray emitted by the sun.
Store your sunscreen in a cool, dry place. I know a friend who stores hers under the bathroom sink. I store mine in a closet with other beach accessories and amenities.
According to a study published by Nature journal, sunscreen may not prevent cancer, so be careful, don’t stay in the sun too long and use sunscreen in moderation.
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