Choosing the Right Sunscreen

With repeated sun exposure, the skin may appear dry, wrinkled, discolored, and scaly. However, the most serious threat caused by sun exposure is skin cancer, which is the most common of all cancers. The greatest risk factor for skin cancer is UV radiation. Therefore, it is important to protect yourself from the harmful UV rays of the sun with sunscreen.

Before you sit to relax on the lawn chair — or take the kids to the beach, read the label and find the best sunscreen for your skin. Our guide can help you understand the terms.

• Choose a sunscreen with “broad spectrum” protection. Sunscreens with this label protect against both UVA and UVB rays, which protects against sunburn, skin cancer and premature aging. Cinnamates (octylmethyl cinnamate and cinoxate), benzophenones (oxybenzone), sulisobenzone, zinc oxide, salicylates, titanium dioxide, avobenzone (Parsol 1789) and ecamsule (Mexoryl SX) are some ingredients with broad-spectrumprotection.

• Choose a sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. The level of protection provided by the sunscreen against UVB rays is defined by the SPF number, so the higher the number the better the protection. But, no sunscreen protects you completely. At the most, it can provide99%protection.

• If you’re going to be in the sun for a long period of time, especially in water, it’s worth getting a sunscreen that is waterproof or water resistant, thus sustaining its effects for 40 minutes or 80 minutes after being the water, respectively.

Apart from the pointers above, you can keep in mind your skin type when considering which sunscreen to buy. For those with dry skin, an oil based or thicker sunscreen may be preferred, whereas for those with oily skin a gel-based or less greasy option may be considered. As long as your sunscreen meets the SPF and broad spectrum requirements above, you can give them a try and see what works best for you.

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