Here are three important points to remember when shopping for and using sunscreen this summer.
1. Make sure your sunscreen is labeled "BROAD SPECTRUM" meaning it protects against both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Both UVA and UVB radiation contribute to the sun’s damaging effects, which include sunburn, skin cancer, and premature skin aging. Yuck!
2. Choose an SPF or 15 or higher — only broad spectrum sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher can state that they reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging (when used as directed).
3. Use sunscreen early and often. Apply a good sunscreen liberally, and reapply after swimming or excessive sweating. There is no such thing as "waterproof" sunscreen. That term is no longer allowed on labels. Any claims of water resistance must indicate whether the sunscreen remains effective for 40 minutes or 80 minutes while swimming or sweating, based on standard testing.
But wait, there's more! While knowing how to select and use the proper sunscreen is an important part of protecting your skin from the sun, these additional sun safety measures should be part of your routine this summer.
- Avoid sun burns, intentional tanning, and use of tanning beds
- Wear sun-protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses
- Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM
- Use extra caution near water, snow and sand
- Get vitamin D safely through food and supplements.