The Right Sunscreen

June 26th, 2015 | Self Improvement, Sunburn

One in five americans will develop skin cancer in their lives. To prevent skin cancer, everyone should wear sunscreen year-round. For the best protection, use these tips when choosing a sunscreen based on skin type.

For Children

  • Children tend to have more sensitive skin, so look for sunscreens without PABA or oxybenzone, which have been known to cause skin reactions.
  • Look for sunscreens that contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
  • Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are considered “physical sunscreens”, which means they protect your skin from the sun by deflecting or blocking the sun’s rays. Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing or scattering the sun’s rays.
  • Titanium dioxide on its own does not provide protection against all UV rays. If you see titanium dioxide, make sure it is combined with zinc oxide to offer full protection.
  • Physical sunscreens start protecting your skin at the moment of application. Chemical sunscreens take 20 minutes to activate.

Sensitive Skin

  • Avoid sunscreens that have heavy perfumes, preservatives, PABA, or oxybenzone.
  • Some sunscreens contain alcohol. Check the ingredients and stay away from sunscreen that contains alcohol, especially for those who suffer from rosacea.
  • People with acne-prone skin should avoid greasy, creamy sunscreens. Look for gel texture sunscreens or oil-free formulas.
  • Sunscreen with zinc oxide will offer maximum protection, without clogging pores.

Dry Skin

  • A nourishing and moisturizing sunscreen will include ingredients such as lanolin, oils, or dimethicone.

Fair Skin

  • Those with fair skin are more susceptible to skin damage, and the deadliest forms of skin cancer.
  • Those with fair skin should consistently protect with broad-spectrum, SPF 30 or higher, and seek shade from the sun whenever possible.
  • Sunscreen should be re-applied every two hours, and after sweating or swimming.

Dark Skin

  • People with darker skin tones, may tend to skip the sunscreen, as they may not develop a painful sunburn as easily as those with fair skin, but that is not the case.
  • Even though skin does not feel burned, DNA can still be damaged by the sun’s harmful rays. To protect against DNA damage, someone with dark skin should use a broad-spectrum SPF 15+ everyday and SPF 30 or more on days with increased sun exposure.

Mature Skin

  • Older individuals have already received large amounts of harmful UV rays, but it is beneficial at all ages to prevent further damage, or new cases of skin cancer.
  • A broad spectrum, SPF 15 should be used regularly. If mobility is a problems, a spray-on sunscreen may be a good option for someone who struggles to reach all areas of the skin.

For daily incidental exposure, professionals recommend using a sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15. Look for the phrase “broad-spectrum”, which combines several active ingredients, and will protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays. For extended sun exposure a broad-spectrum, SPF 30 or higher is necessary to keep your skin well protected. No matter the type you choose, all sunscreen should applied throughout the day.

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