Woo-hoo! Summer is almost here, and you know what that means… finding the best sunscreen to keep you safe for all that fun in the sun! OK, OK, we get it, sun protection isn’t at the forefront of your mind when you think of summer, but it should be!
Not only does sun exposure cause premature aging, but more seriously, it can cause skin cancer. 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the time they’re 70. So as tempting as that golden tan may be, it is never a good idea to forego sunscreen.
As much as we need sunlight, it can be dangerous without proper protection. UVB and UVA rays are particularly harmful; UVB causes sunburns while UVA causes premature aging. Even when it is cloudy, the rays can pass through and cause sunburn or skin damage. Excessive sun exposure can lead to many types of skin cancer.
However, with new technology and decades of research, we are finally close to understanding the multitude of problems that come with sun damage. In conjunction with wearing an appropriate covering (IE: Bald? Wear a hat!) and staying shaded, sunscreen can greatly decrease your chances of getting skin cancer or developing other issues.
Natural VS Chemical
There are two main types of sunscreen, Organic, which reflects and scatters the UV radiation and, inorganic, which absorbs the rays and can contain PABA derivatives like cinnamate, salicylates, and benzophenones. Some of the most popular chemical ingredients in non-organic sunscreen, like oxybenzone, have been known to pose some serious health risks. Using an all natural sunscreen, one that contains natural minerals such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide is a safer alternative to many of the chemical sunscreens available.
The Best Sunscreen
SPF or sun protection factor determines the amount of protection from UVB rays only. This is because UVA rays are not currently rated. While SPF 30 is going to be better than SPF 15, it doesn't necessarily offer double protection. SPF 50 will only allow about 2% of rays through. The FDA is currently debating on whether to put a cap on SPF at 60. According to some research, any higher does not provide a significant increase in protection. You can also effectively combine products to achieve a higher SPF rating. Many beauty products today offer small amounts of SPF to offer some form of protection.
This type of sunscreen protects the skin from both UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays cause burning while UVA is the culprit behind those sun spots and prematurely aged skin. In order to be labeled as broad-spectrum, the FDA requires strict testing. Water-resistant sunscreen offers an added layer of safety. Broad-spectrum sunscreen, preferably water-resistant, will be your best bet. They are offered in both natural and chemical formulas.
- Apply generously, reapplying every two hours and after swimming or excessive sweating.
- Water-resistant sunscreen is ideal, however, you still need to reapply every two hours for effective protection.
- When using any SPF sunscreen, keep in mind that due to water and sweat interference, it may offer less protection than what is stated on the label.
- Even if you are using the very best, most effective sunscreen, it is still important to take other precautions such as wearing clothing over exposed skin and finding a shaded area. This is especially important during peak UV hours between 10 am and 4 pm.
While choosing a proper sunscreen may seem like a trivial task, getting the correct one to provide the most protection is imperative. It can save you from possibly developing serious health issues that can arise from repeated and prolonged sun exposure.
Please note, a day at the beach is not the only time that wearing sunscreen is important. Most experts agree that sunscreen should be applied whenever you are going to be outdoors. If you are going to apply one product before leaving your house, it should be sunscreen. There are many varieties and there are even sunscreen facial mists available that won't smudge your makeup. Remember, even if the sun is hiding, its harmful rays are not. Let the summer fun begin!