The number of skin cancer cases is going upward every year. The good news is there has been an explosion of sun protection products to prevent the disease. As the number of people who are becoming aware of the need for sun protection is increasing, sunscreen lotions and creams are taking the lion’s share of sun protection products in the market.
Hundreds of sunscreen brands are claiming to be the best sunscreens in the business making it confusing for many customers. The question as to which sunscreen is best for you can be answered by understanding what sunscreens are for, what they are made of, and how you should use them.
Sunscreen is a chemical used to prevent ultraviolet radiation from hurting the skin. UVA and UVB are two types of ultraviolet radiation that can damage the skin and cause skin cancer. UVA penetrates more into the skin compared to the latter and is known to be the main cause of skin wrinkling, sagging, and skin cancer itself. UVB on the other hand causes sunburn. Though sunscreens may not totally get rid of any UV damage to the skin, it can protect the skin when used properly.
UVA protection can be measured on a ranking of 1-4, low to high. When you see “broad spectrum” in a sunscreens label, it means that it contains chemicals like Zinc Oxide, Parsol, and Mexoryl that prevents radiation from penetrating the skin. Some sunscreens also have a chemical called Helioplex which can make other chemicals last longer in the skin.
You may also want to look at SPF, or Sun Protection Factor. SPF is used to measure the ability of a sunscreen to prevent UV Radiation from damaging the skin. To make it easier to understand, the more SPF’s the better. Some sunscreens come with an SPF 15 which blocks approximately 93% of UVB rays. The best sunscreens have higher SPF’s that can block 93-99% of UV Radiation. It remains a fact however, that no sunscreen can really protect you a hundred percent from UV rays.
Sunscreens come in many forms including creams, gels, sprays, moisturizers, and more. The choice depends on what you think will feel good on your skin and which is easier to apply. If you are planning on swimming or doing activities that will make you sweat a lot, look for water resistant sunscreens.
Sunscreens can be weighed by their ability to protect against UVA and UVB Radiation. As a general rule, always look for “broad spectrum”, “water resistant”, and “SPF”. Aside from those three, you also need to know that no sunscreen is expected to stay in effect for longer than two hours, meaning you need to reapply before the time is up.
Sometimes the effectiveness of even the best sunscreens in the market depends on how you use them, where you use them, and how long you stay under the sun. If you carefully consider these things, then choosing the best sunscreen for sun protection is an easy task.
Image by ktylerconk via Flickr