How To Read Sunscreen Labels and Choose the Right Sunscreen
Let’s quickly wanted to discuss how to read sunscreen labels and choose the right one for you. Some protect only against sunburn and others have the added benefit of helping prevent skin cancer and premature skin aging which is what you should be looking for. Labels were updated in 2013 by the FDA so it’s helpful to review what has changed.
Sunscreen options: http://amzn.to/2qOAO26
Look for the words ”broad spectrum”. This means the sunscreen is protecting you from harmful UV rays. This includes both UVA and UVB rays.
Choose a sunscreen with SPF of at least 30. The American Academy of Dermatology specifically recommends all individuals use a sunscreen with at least 30 SPF, regardless of your risk or history of skin cancer. It is unclear at this point whether an SPF over 50 provides added benefit.
Look for “water resistant”. This is not in all sunscreen products and obviously is more applicable if you think you’ll be getting wet while you’re out for the day. Along with water resistance is remember to reapply. Typically the bottle will tell you how often you need to do this, for example every 80 minutes or 100 minutes. Remember, what resistant does not mean waterproof.
Avoid sunscreen that contains insect repellent. Again, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you use these products separately. You need to reapply sunscreen every few hours, however, insect repellent does not require that frequent re-application.
Remember to use a product on your lips. Skin cancer spares no sun exposed skin and this includes your lips. Choose a lip balm that meets the same above criteria: broad spectrum and SPF of at least 30. Use it year round.
And a few final pointers.
- When using sunscreen: make sure to use enough, use it early in the day, and reapply every 2 hours.
- Remember to cover your skin with clothing and wear a broad brimmed hat as much as possible. Although sunscreen helps, it can’t beat the protective effects of clothing.
- Wear sunglasses that block 99% of UV light.
- Try to avoid the sun between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM when UV rays are at their peak
- Avoid tanning beds and sun lamps! These increase your risk of skin cancer and premature skin aging!