I still remember my first vacation to Mexico when I was thirteen years old. Unfortunately, it isn't the fond memory of snorkeling in the clear blue waters with schools of tropical fish that first comes to mind, but the horrible sunburn I got that had me hotel-bound and slathered in aloe vera gel for days.
Now, with summer right around the corner, thoughts turn again to outdoor activities: swimming pools, lakes, cycling and picnics in the park. No matter how much we enjoy being outside, spending more time in the sun means an increased chance of sunburn and the risk of early skin aging and skin cancer.
To help protect you and your family this summer from painful sunburn and skin damage, follow these helpful tips on how to select and properly use the right sunscreen for your needs.
A. Things To Look For In A Sunscreen:
- Find a sunscreen with Broad Spectrum Coverage (both UVA & UVB coverage). UVA rays cause your skin to age, UVB rays cause your skin to burn, and both can cause cancer.
- Select a SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15 for optimal skin protection. If you're fair skinned, SPF 30 or higher is recommended.
- If you are going to be in the water or sweating, choose a sunscreen with "Water Resistant" on the bottle. Sunscreens now offer water resistance for 40 or 80 minutes, indicating the amount of time it will stay on your skin and maintain its SPF level while wet.
- Avoid combination sunscreens with bug repellant, as they often contain penetration enhancers and could lead to increased skin absorption of the pesticide.
I'll give you some great tips on how to apply sunscreen correctly in my next post.