Everyone knows the importance of protecting your skin from the sun. But which sunscreen is best when it comes to offering the best protection from dangerous UV rays? Before attempting to answer that question, it is important to understand how sunscreen actually works.
Why Sunscreen is Important
One person dies of melanoma every hour, with another 5.4 million diagnosed with non-melanoma type skin cancers every year in the United States alone. With statistics that startling, it is no wonder dermatologists so strongly urge the use of sunscreen.
Offering one of the most effective ways to protect the skin from dangerous UVA and UVB rays, sunscreen provides a mineral or chemical barrier between you and the sun, absorbing, reflecting or blocking UV rays from reaching the skin.
Tips for Choosing the Right Sunscreen
Sunscreen comes in various forms and strengths. From thick creams to easy spray-on versions, today’s sunscreens are available in a variety of options, which can make choosing one seemingly impossible. Many are even waterproof, allowing users to enjoy the water in relative safety from the sun.
But how do you know which is best? Here are a few tips:
- Choose the Proper SPF. You might think that the higher the SPF, the more protection sunscreen offers. This is only true to a certain extent. The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) was created by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a way to help consumers better understand what level of protection was being offered by certain formulas. Under their guidelines, an SPF level gives the user about 15 times more protection than they would receive naturally, wearing no sunscreen at all. For instance, a very fair person (one who burns easily) can usually withstand about 10 minutes in direct sunlight without the risk of skin damage. Wearing a 15 SPF sunscreen, that same person can be out in the sun for about 150 minutes or roughly 2 1/12 hours. So, a higher SPF does not necessarily offer more protection, but rather offers longer protection. That said, most experts agree that when outside for longer periods of time, wearing a high-level SPF is much better for the skin.
- Choose a Sunscreen That Will be Worn. Slathering on a lotion may offer more thorough protection, but if you never take the time to put it on, the fact remains that spraying on your protection will be better. This is especially true when dealing with squirmy children. So, be sure to pick a sunscreen that will be used above all else!
- Watch Those Ingredients. The fact is, sunscreen is filled with chemical ingredients, and some of them may cause allergic reactions, or even increase the chance of developing skin cancer! Some common ingredients that work as endocrine disruptors (in which case can cause some serious health concerns), include: Oxybenzone (known to reduce sperm counts in men); retinyl palmitate (shown to speed the growth of cancer cells by 21 percent); and methylisothiazolinone (which the American Contact Dermatitis Society named as its “allergen of the year”).
- Choose a Broad Spectrum Sunscreen. With more and more evidence being released that shows UVA rays to be a bigger indicator of skin cancer and wrinkles than UVB rays, dermatology experts agree that using a broad spectrum sunscreen is best for achieving the most benefit. Ingredients with broad-spectrum protection include benzophenones (oxybenzone), cinnamates (octylmethyl cinnamate and cinoxate), sulisobenzone, salicylates, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, avobenzone (Parsol 1789) and ecamsule (Mexoryl SX).
Sunscreen is Not Always Enough
Sunscreen is only one weapon in the arsenal against skin damage. To fully protect the skin from dangerous UV rays, it is also important to cover the skin with long sleeves, hats and even sunglasses. Stay out of the direct sun when you can and install protective window films in your home and your car to keep the sun from filtering through the glass.
To find out more about the ways you can protect yourself this summer, contact us at Executive Motorsports to learn about tinting your vehicle’s windows.