Just because a sunscreen has made it to the shelves of your local big box store or even to your favorite beauty supply chain does not make it safe, healthy and effective. Some sunscreens do not protect against all of the damaging rays of the sun, and others do not actually contain as much active ingredients as the bottle states. This can lead to significant sunburns and skin damage. The next time you are staring at the dozens of creams, sprays and rollers that line the sunscreen aisle, remember these for finding a great sunscreen.
Look for SPF
For good daily sun protection, you should look for sunscreens boasting an SPF of at least 15. This number means that how fast you would normally burn is multiplied by a factor of 15. However, even under harsh sunlight, SPF 30 is typically fine for most people. This is because the benefits of SPF do not get significantly higher beyond this point. Those who have already experienced skin damage or who are at very high risk of sunburn may want to use SPF 50 when in bright sunlight.
Look for UVA Protection
Older sunscreens only protected from UVB rays from the sun. Today, however, scientists have learned how much damage UVA rays can do. The listed SPF will not tell you how much the formula will protect you from UVA rays. If you check the ingredient list though, you will get a good idea as to whether the sunscreen is a safe choice. Some top ingredients for protecting against UVA rays include ecamsule, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. (more…)