Things to Seek Out in a Sunscreen
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Things to Seek Out in a Sunscreen

Posted on Wednesday, July 9th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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How can you tell if a sunscreen is really going to protect your skin?  Not all sunscreens are the same!  Here's some advice on what to seek out in a sunscreen.Summer time is when a lot of people go on vacation and spend time outdoors. It is very important to protect your skin from the sun. Sunburn can be painful and it causes damage to your skin. One way to prevent that is by using sunscreen. Not all sunscreens are the same, though! Here are some things to seek out when selecting a sunscreen.

What to Look for in a Sunscreen

Look for Broad Spectrum Sunscreens

The purpose of sunscreen is to prevent sunburn. There are two ways that sunscreen can do this. Some of them only protect your skin from the sun’s ultraviolet B rays (or UVB rays). Some only protects against ultraviolet A rays (or UVA rays). A sunscreen that only provides protection from one of those is insufficient. You need to be protected from both types of radiation.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has put together some helpful information for consumers who are interested in purchasing sunscreen. One important thing to know is that you should be looking for sunscreens that are “broad spectrum”. This means that the sunscreen protects against both UVB rays and UVA rays.

Under FDA regulations, only products that have passed a broad spectrum test are allowed to put the words “broad spectrum” on their sunscreen’s label. If you see “broad spectrum” on a sunscreen, you can be assured that it truly does protect against both UVB and UVA rays (and that it was tested to make sure).

High in SPF

Another important thing to look for in a sunscreen is its Sun Protection Factor (SPF). The SPF is a number that gives some indication as to how much protection from the sun it provides. Select a sunscreen that is at least SPF 15. Of course, higher numbers indicate even better protection, so don’t be afraid to choose a sunscreen that has a higher SPF number.

Avoid sunscreen that has an SPF that is lower than 15. The FDA now requires those sunscreen products to come with a warning. “Skin Cancer/Skin Aging Alert: Spending time in the sun increases your risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. This product has been shown only to help prevent sunburn, not skin cancer or early skin aging”.

Is it Water Resistant?

What about the sunscreens that say they are water resistant? The FDA regulations require the sunscreen labels that make the claim of being water resistant to designate if it is protective for 40 or 80 minutes while swimming or sweating. This gives you a clear idea about when you need to reapply the sunscreen.

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