Finding the Right Sunscreen

It is that time of year again to break out the sun block! With summer in full force it is important to know that there are many different types of sunscreens to consider when trying to protect yourself. 

Here is some advice when choosing the proper protection this summer. The FDA says that using 50 plus SPF may not be as useful as manufacturers claim them to be. SPF values only refer to protection from sunburn and they do not indicate protection against UVA rays, the harmful UV rays that contribute to skin cancer and skin aging. Another piece of advice is to specifically look for UVA protection labels on the sunscreen. Most sunscreens do not protect against UVA rays but rather protect against UVB rays, however the UVA rays are much more harmful. A suggestion is to look for mineral-based sunscreens as they effectively block UVA rays. Stay away from sunscreens that contain oxybenzone because it has been linked to allergic reactions and potential hormone disruption.

Try to use lotion over sprays or powder sunscreens because sprays are more often inhaled and go directly to the bloodstream.  Another one to avoid are lotions with vitamin A. Lesions are quicker to form on skin slathered with creams containing retinyl pamitate, which is also labeled as retinol or vitamin A. You should also avoid a sunscreen with insect repellent. Those two things need to be applied on different schedules. When the UV radiation is at its highest you should not rely on sunscreen solely. Try wearing hats and sunglasses for the ultimate protection. Last but not least reapply, reapply and reapply. Sunscreen washes off with water and can rub off with towels. Lastly men are twice as likely to die from melanoma in 2018 than women so protect yourself when spending long hours in the sun.


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