Although it is spring and just warming up for some of us, it is not too early to think about sunscreen. When I was young, no one really used it because it was the thing to be nice and tan. Tan equated to being healthier. As a teenager, I never gave any thought to the future.
Yes, as a teenager, I ended up with several bad burns. Bad enough the skin peeled but to us, that was completely normal. Now, however, it is recommended you do not get super tanned or get burned.
It is strongly recommended people wear a good sunscreen but if you've ever shopped for some, you know how many choices there are on the shelf. Someone told me, I should buy a brand new bottle every single year but I hate doing it when I have a half used bottle at home. According to Mayo Clinic, sunscreen is designed to remain at full strength for three years so its best to check the expiration date on the bottle.
If the expiration date has passed, throw it out and get a new bottle. If there is no expiration date on the bottle, write it in with permanent black ink so you know when it is expired. As for application, it is recommended you use at least one ounce or 30 ml every time you apply it. This means a four ounce bottle should last for 4 applications.
Sunscreen should be reapplied every 2 hours. If you are swimming or perspiring, apply it more frequently. Be sure to use a sunscreen of at least SPF 15. So what do you look for when you buy sunscreen. Are there things to look for? Yes, so on to how to read the label to find the sunscreen which is best for you.
1. You want a broad spectrum sunscreen since it will protect you from both UVA (Ultraviolet A) and UVB (Ultraviolet B). The UVA waves are responsible for wrinkles, sagging and other signs of aging while UVB is responsible for sunburns. Both can cause skin cancer.
2. SPF or Sun Protection Factor. This number tells you how long you can stay in the sun before your skin starts burning. If you burn in 20 minutes, an SPF of 15 means you should be able to stay out in the sun 15 times longer. In reality, most SPF numbers are determined in the lab so it is recommended you reapply your sunscreen every two hours. Any SPF over 50 is not worth it. You really don't need anything over SPF 15 for general use and SPF if you are outdoors for an extended period of time.
3. The term water resistant simply means it stays on longer when swimming or sweating. The FDA prohibits the use of the terms waterproof or sweat proof since no sunscreen can be either waterproof or sweat proof.
4. Look for the skin cancer foundation seal of approval. If it has a daily use approval, the sunscreen is good for limited daily exposure. If it has the active seal, it is approved for extended use outside.
5. Active ingredients. There are two types of active ingredients found in sunscreen are chemical and physical ingredients. Active ingredients include avobenzone and benzophenone which absorb the ultraviolet rays. Physical ingredients include zinc oxide or titanium oxide which stay on top of the skin to deflect rays.
So next time you shop for sunscreen, keep these five things in mind as you shop for your next bottle.
Let me know what you think.