Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. In fact, it is most common than you think.
Do you know that the best way to protect yourself from skin cancer is to stay out of the sun? But, most individuals enjoy the sun too much to completely avoid it. Also, sun exposure is important for you to get vitamin D.
Therefore, the next best thing you can do is to wear sunscreen. But with so many types of sunscreen available, how do you know which one is right for you?
1. Anti-UVB and UVA
A perfect sunscreen provides you protection on a broad spectrum. This means that it blocks the skin against the harmful effects of both UVB and UVA rays, which can lead to signs of premature aging (including dark spots, wrinkles and skin tags), skin cancer and sunburn.
2. SPF 15 or Higher
Choose SPF 15 or higher for UVB protection. The SPF factor determines how effective the sunscreen is in preventing sunburn caused by UVB rays. If you normally burn in 10 minutes, SPF 15 multiplies that by a factor of 15, which means you could go 150 minutes before burning.
For the vast majority of individuals, SPF 15 is fine. But people who have very fair skin, conditions such as lupus that increase sensitivity to sunlight or a family history of skin cancer, should consider SPF 30 or higher.
Remember that the higher the SPF, the smaller the increased benefit, that is contrary to what you might think. SPF 30 is not twice as strong as SPF 15, while SPF 15 filters out 93% of UVB, SPF 30 filters out 97%, which is only a slight improvement.
3. For Sensitive Skin
If you have a sensitive skin, try a mineral-based sunscreen that uses titanium dioxide or zinc oxide as the active ingredients. Steer clear of formulas that contain fragrances, alcohols or preservatives like methylisothiazolinone. All of these inactive ingredients have also been associated to allergic skin reactions.
4. For Children’s Skin
Chemicals can irritate your child’s sensitive skin. Oxybenzone and PABA in particular have been linked with skin reactions. The physical sunscreens titanium dioxide and zinc oxide tend to be better tolerated by individuals with sensitive skin and can usually be found in sunscreens for children and babies.
Also, since applying sunscreen to children is half the battle, try spray sunscreens or tubes with colorful packaging, which children may find more enjoyable to use. Just remember that spray sunscreens should not be applied directly into the face. Sprays should be misted into the hands and then applied on the face.
5. Water and Sweat Resistance
If you are going to be in the water or exercising, it is worth getting a sunscreen resistant to sweat and water.
What this means is the FDA defines water resistant sunscreen having that SPF level stay effective after 40 minutes in the water. While a very water resistant means it holds after 80 minutes of swimming.
These sunscreens are in not water-proof, so you will need to re-apply them regularly if you are taking a swim.
How to Wear Sunscreen Properly
Using the right sunscreen is important, but it will not help much if you do not use it correctly. Read these tips from the experts.
1. You should apply the sunscreen 15-30 minutes before you go out in the sun. For woman, you can apply sunscreen under your makeup. Use about 1 ounce or 2 tablespoons, to cover your entie body. Studies have shown that some individuals do not use enough and only get 10% to 25% of the benefit.
2. Do not forget to apply sunscreen on those easy-to-miss spots, such as the tips of your ears, the back of your legs, feet and, if you have one, your bald spot. Your lips can also get sunburned, so use a UV-protective lip balm and reapply regularly.
3. Reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours, or more often, if you are sweating or getting wet.
4. See the expiration date on the bottle. Sunscreen loses its effectiveness over time.
5. Apply sunscreen whenever you are out during the day. Do not apply only when it is hot and sunny. Up to 80% of the dangerous UV rays still make it through the clouds. Also, during the winter, exposure to the rays of the sun can still can have damaging effects on your skin.