How to Choose the Best Sunscreen – 3 Tips to Keep in Mind - Carson Tahoe Health

How to Choose the Best Sunscreen – 3 Tips to Keep in Mind

Did you know that one in five Americans develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime? It’s no secret that using sunscreen is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself, but did you know that not all sunscreens are created equal? When faced with all the choices out there, it can be hard to tell which sunscreen is best for you.

First, remember that there are two types of UV rays: UVA rays and UVB rays. Both of these UV types have been attributed to skin cancer and not all sunscreens will protect you from both rays. UVB rays are commonly known to cause sunburns while UVA are known to be responsible for wrinkles.

Tip 1 – Sun Protection Factor (SPF). Many people tend to choose the sunscreen with the highest SPF number. However, SPF refers to the amount of protection the sunscreen offers from UVB rays, not UVA rays.

A common myth about SPF is that a factor of 30 is twice as strong as one of 15. While SPF 15 filters out 93% of UVB, SPF 30 filters out 97%, only a slight improvement.

Tip 2 – Broad-spectrum or Multi-spectrum sunscreen. These sunscreens block out harmful UVB rays as well as UVA rays. If the sunscreen bottle doesn’t specify, here’s a list of ingredients to look for that protect against both UVA and UVB rays:
• ecamsule
• avobenzone
• oxybenzone
• titanium dioxide
• sulisobenzone
• zinc oxide

Tip 3 – Water and Sweat Resistance. “Water resistant” sunscreens have an SPF level that stays effective after 40 minutes in the water. “Very water resistant” means it holds after 80 minutes of swimming.

It’s important to use sunscreen year-round, not just during summer. In general, sunscreens protect your skin for about 2 hours, so remember to reapply it throughout the day.

How do you practice sun safety? Let us know in the comments below!