According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans will get skin cancer at some point in their lives. Your beauty and health depend on your skin. When you’re out in the sun (or using a tanning bed), ultraviolet (UV) radiation damages your skin, causing it to age and increasing your risk of getting skin cancer. That’s why you should always wear a broad spectrum-sunscreen when your skin is exposed to the two types of UV radiation — UVA and UVB. For most people, sunscreens with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher will offer UVB protection. For UVA protection, look for products with ecamsule, avobenzone, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, sulisobenzone, or zinc oxide.
When and how to apply sunscreen
Apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before you’re exposed to the sun. If you wear makeup, apply sunscreen under makeup. Slather lots of sunscreen (at least two tablespoons’ worth) all over your body, including the back of your legs, your feet and the tips of your ears if you wear your hair behind your ears. Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours and reapply after 40 minutes of swimming or sweating immediately after towel drying.
Use high-quality sunscreen products that provide broad-spectrum protection
According to Consumersearch, the following products provide adequate broad-spectrum protection from UV rays:
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30, which is lightweight, non-greasy, water-resistant and it comes in a variety of SPF strengths, from SPF 30 through SPF 100+. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunblock sells for $9.97 at Walmart.
If you’re athletic or very active outdoors, Coppertone Sport Continuous Spray SPF 30 Sunscreen has a spray-on formula, is hypoallergenic, waterproof and it’s available in SPF 15, 30, 50, 70+ and 100+ and retails for $10.49 at CVS.
According to the Environmental Working Group‘s Guide to Sunscreens, the following products meet the organization’s criteria for sun safety:
Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Sunscreen Stick, SPF 30 provides UVB and UVA protection and contains titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. It’s perfect for babies, fragrance-free, hypoallergenic and available at Walgreens for $9.99.
Kiss My Face Sunscreen Natural Mineral Formula SPF 40 With Hydresia 3 Fl Oz is a broad spectrum sunscreen that’s water resistant and enriched with hydresia oleosomes that are ultra-moisturizing. This product is great for children and people with sensitive skin and it retails at Walgreens for $16.99.
If you have skin allergies, acne or rosacea
Avoid sunscreen products that contain preservatives, fragrances, PABA, xybenzone or alcohol. You might have luck with sunscreens designed for children or products with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.