Skin Deep: How to choose the right sunscreen for you
One of the surest signs that summer has started is the sunburned faces of the people around you. As the days get longer and warmer, it is only natural to spend more time outside. But just because you are outside doesn’t mean that you need to put your skin at risk.
The first step to protecting your skin is finding the right sun screen for you. Here are some of the common questions about sunscreen selection:
What is SPF?
SPF stands for sun protection factor. SPF rating is calculated by comparing the amount of time needed to produce a sunburn on sunscreen-protected skin versus unprotected skin1. In theory this would mean that an SPF of 30 would mean that you can stay in the sun 30 times longer than if you had no sunscreen. So if it would take you 10 minutes to burn in direct sunlight, using a sunscreen with a SPF 30 would mean it would take you 300 minutes to burn. This doesn’t mean that you should wait 300 minutes to reapply or that you will be fully covered for 300 minutes. Sunscreen can come off when you sweat and will become less effective as time passes. So always make sure to reapply!
What SPF should you use?
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends always using a sunscreen with a rating of 30 or higher. The FDA has set the minimum sunscreen rating for cancer prevention at 15, however a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 will block out 97% of the sun’s rays2. If you are prone to burning or are spending a lot of time outside, higher SPFs may be a better option for you.
Does it matter if it is water resistant?
YES! Even if you aren’t spending the day in the water, your body can sweat off sunscreen throughout the day.
What type of sunscreen?
-For dry skin and your face try using a cream. They are more gentle on the skin and can help moisturize as well as not leaving you with the same “slimy” feeling.
-For hairy areas, gels can be the best way to penetrate through the hair and give you the best protection
-Around your eyes sun screen sticks can help you keep from burning, but with less mess and drip. No one likes sunscreen in their eyes.
-When applying sunscreen to children many parents prefer the sprays to gels and creams. These are equally effective, but make sure to thoroughly cover the skin so that no patch is left without enough sunscreen.
Other things to check for on the bottle
Make sure to look for a label that says “broad-spectrum protection.” This means it protects against UVA and UVB rays which can cause skin cancer and cause skin to age more quickly.
After making the right choice in sunscreen remember that reapplying is important. Sunscreen won’t last all day. The general recommendation is to use at least one ounce of sunscreen all over the exposed areas of your body. Always remember to cover up and use a chap stick with an SPF rating of 15 to make sure your lips don’t get burned too.
Here’s to a wonderful summer in the great outdoors.
- Posted by holx-admin
- On August 28, 2013