The most important thing when it comes to sunscreen, just use it. Be generous in application and reapply often. Anyone over the age of six months should use sunscreen daily. There are a lot of good choices, and inexpensive brands have often rated higher than the costly versions.
The American Academy of Dermatology suggests using products containing any of the following ingredients.
- Menthyl anthranilate
- Octyl methoxycinnamate
- Octyl salicylate
Oxybenzone can irritate skin for those who are highly sensitive. There are mineral based sunscreens available, their main ingredients are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These are just as effective, and less irritating.
The Federal Drug Administration introduced several new rules for sunscreen labels that will go into effect in 2012. These new regulations aim to better protect consumers from the effects of the sun’s ultraviolet rays and prevent companies from misleading claims such as their sunscreens are “waterproof” or “sweat proof.”
A Consumer Reports study tested 22 products for their effectiveness in protecting against UVA and UVB radiation. Creams, sprays, gels and lotions are all effective, so use the type you prefer. The key is to find one you like, and will continue to use.
Up & Up’s Sport Continuous SPF 30 (Target brand) won top honors as the best buy, being one of four with top marks for effectiveness and costing just $0.88 per ounce.
Three other brands were rated highly for their UVA, UVB protection and also their low cost:
- Banana Boat Sport Performance SPF 30
- Coppertone Sport Ultra Sweatproof SPF 30
- CVS Fast Cover Sport SPF 30
Don’t rely on sunscreen alone. Sun protection needs to be a habit 365 days of the year. Wear protective clothing when you can and limit your time in the sun, especially during the peak hours of 10 am to 4 pm. Use hats or umbrellas when walking for extended periods in direct sunlight. Your sunscreen should be water resistant, with an SPF of at least 30. Above 30, there is really not much more protection. Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours and after swimming or working up a sweat. Use 2 to 3 tablespoons of a lotion on most of your body, or spray as much as can be evenly rubbed in. Follow the product instructions, and remember that it is better to use too much, than to use too little.
For more information, go to Consumer Reports.
You can also read these informative articles on ovalpike.com.
Know the facts and be sun safe
Daily sun protection