It is important to be informed when it comes to choosing a sunscreen. Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer is on the rise. There is no conclusive evidence about why this is occurring, but there seems to be a link to UVA exposure over the years; especially getting sunburns as a child.
There are two types of rays, UVA and UVB. UVA or just UV rays are more damaging and penetrate deeper into the skin. They are responsible for accelerated aging, may suppress the immune system and may cause skin cancer.
UVB rays cause burning on the skin’s surface. Sunscreens come in various Sun Protection Factors, better known as SFPs. SPFs only refer to how it protects from UVB rays. Therefore, the higher the protection number, not necessarily the better because UVA rays are not factored in.
It is suggested by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) in their report about sunscreens, that you should select an SPF BELOW 50. That way there is no false sense of security about protection and you will reapply your sunscreen more frequently.
Here are some other findings from the EWG about what NOT to use:
- Do not use sprays – they may pose an inhalation threat and you may not get coverage everywhere.
- No SPFs higher than 50.
- Do not use sunscreens with the ingredients Retinyl Palmitate (vitamin A), which may contribute to skin cancer or Oxybenzone, an endocrine disruptor.
- Do not use combined bug repellent and sunscreen, towelettes, powders or tanning oils.
Here is what you SHOULD look for:
- Sunscreens with UVA and UVB protection (broad spectrum).
- Look for the active ingredients Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide.
Lastly, don’t just depend on your sunscreen. Wear a hat and clothing for protection and sit in the shade. Reapply your sunscreen OFTEN, more often than you think is necessary.
Look up the recommend brands of sunscreen here or see how your favorite brand rates:
Enjoy your summer!