Any sunscreen will protect your skin from the sun, right? – Wrong! There are several factors that play in to how well a sunscreen will protect. Consumer reports tested over 60 sunscreens ranging from lotions to lip balms and found that there are more important factors than just the SPF number. The sun protection factor (SPF) measures how long a sunscreen will protect you from ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation. This radiation is the main cause of sunburn and it also contributes to skin cancer. They also tested for protection against ultraviolet A (UVA) rays, which tan and age your skin, but can also contribute to skin cancer.
In order to get the most out of your sunscreen, Consumer Reports suggests using a broad-spectrum sunscreen that provides protection from both UVB and UVA rays. It is recommended that you use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and is water resistant. It’s important to apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before going outside. If you’re using a lotion sunscreen, a teaspoon per area is a good amount to ensure full coverage. If you prefer spray-on sunscreen, apply a thick layer that can be rubbed in (rub it in) and repeat it one more time. Consumer Reports stresses the fact that sunscreen, no matter which type, is to be reapplied every two hours as well as after swimming and sweating to get the best results.
To find out more about sun protection and to see the top-rated sunscreens by Consumer Reports, go to www.consumerreports.org and search for “sunscreen buying guide”. Below you will find some other helpful tips on keeping your skin protected from the sun this summer.
CLOTHING: Wear clothing that covers your skin when in direct sunlight for a long period of time. Hats also help to shade your face.
SHADE: When spending an extended amount of time in the sun, be sure there is a shaded area or bring something like an umbrella or canopy to create a shield from the harmful rays.
SUNGLASSES: Not only are sunglasses an easy way to make a fashion statement, they also are essential for protecting your eyes from UV radiation.
TIME OF DAY: It’s a good idea to spend your time outside when it’s earlier in the morning and in the evening when the sun isn’t as high in the sky.
NO BURN: Try your best to prevent any red, sore or blistered skin and use sunscreen as a last resort. It is best to avoid the damaging rays if at all possible.
UV INDEX: Be sure to check the UV Index to help plan your outdoor activites and avoid sun exposure.