Confused about sunscreens?

sunscreen-bottlesIt’s summer! Time to pack up the car, fill the cooler , wipe off last year’s sand from the beach chairs and head to the shore or the park!

With warmer weather upon us, people love being outdoors enjoying the sun’s warmth, but remember the same sun that warms your skin can damage it as well. So don’t forget the sunscreen!

As you wander the drugstore or grocery market aisle surrounded by all types of sunscreen, you may think: Which is the best one for me and my family? Some popular brands are expensive, but you really don’t have to pay a lot for a safe product that does the job.

Here are some facts you need to know.

     1.  Sunscreens come in a variety of applications such as lotions, creams, gels, sprays, sticks, powders and wipes.

  • Creams are best for dry skin and the face.
  • Gels stick stick better on hairy areas, such as the scalp or male chest.
  • Sticks are good to use around the eyes, lips and nose.
  • Sprays are sometimes easier to apply to children.
  • There also are sunscreens for sensitive skin and babies.

   2.  The main thing to look for when choosing a sunscreen is:

  • It provides broad spectrum protection(protects against UVA and UVB rays)
  • It has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher.
  • Check the expiration date. The FDA requires all sunscreens retain their original strength for at least three years.
  • If you can’t find an expiration date check for visible signs that the sunscreen may be no good. Look for obvious changes in color or consistency of the product. If you’re not sure, throw it out.

  3.  Reapply sunscreen periodically. 

  • If you sweat excessively or go into the water, reapply it after you dry off. Sunscreen manufacturers can no longer state their product is “waterproof” or “sweat proof,” because sunscreen eventually washes off.

     4.  Pay attention to the facts.

  • Use sunscreen even on cool, cloudy days!  Even on cloudy days, the sun’s harmful UV rays pass through the clouds at 80%. Unprotected skin is vulnerable to sunburn.
  • Ever wonder why you seem to tan or burn faster at the beach? You might think it’s due to the ocean breeze that keeps you more comfortable allowing you to baste in the sun longer, but it is also due to the fact that the sand, like snow, reflects 25 % of the UV rays of the sun. This can cause sunburn and skin damage.

So when you pack up the car, grab the beach umbrella, cooler, volley ball and music, don’t forget the sunscreen!!