Everything You Need to Know about Sunscreen (and the Best Drugstore Sunscreens to Buy)

Everything You Need to Know about Sunscreen (and the Best Drugstore Sunscreens to Buy)

GENERAL GUIDELINES


pool

Image: USAG-Humphreys via Flickr

The goal of sunscreen is to stop harmful rays from reaching and damaging your skin. There are a few things the FDA recommends you look for in your sunscreen.

  • Look for a sunscreen labeled "broad spectrum." This means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. According to Skincancer.org, "Ultraviolet A (UVA) is the longer wave UV ray that causes lasting skin damage, skin aging, and can cause skin cancer. Ultraviolet B (UVB) is the shorter wave UV ray that causes sunburns, skin damage, and can cause skin cancer."
  • Look for a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 but no more than 50.
  • Buy a sunscreen labeled as "water resistant." Water resistant sunscreens are listed as protective for either 40 minutes or 80 minutes.
  • Anything you put on your skin also enters your body; therefore, be aware that there are chemicals you want to avoid. Environmental Working Group, says to avoid sunscreens with oxybenzone or retinyl palmitate. This is easier said than done. 56% of sunscreens on the market contain oxybenzone. The American Academy of Dermatology deems oxybenzone safe, and the FDA approved the use of this chemical in 1978. Make your own decision based on how you feel about these ingredients.

Related Posts

Is Sunscreen Causing Skin Cancer?

Did you see the headlines linking sunscreen to skin cancer? Are you feeling confused about how to protect yourself and family from the dangers of sun exposure? These stories stem from a report by the EWG (Environmental Working Group). Many of these "fear driven" headlines would lead you to believe that it might be more dangerous to use sunscreen than not. Let me assure you, it is still best to use sunscreen, but you should use it wisely. A statement from The American Academy of Dermatology says, "scientific evidence supports the beneficial effects of sunscreen" and sunscreen is "an important tool in the fight against skin cancer."   Read more >

Common Ingredient in Sunscreen the "Asbestos of the Future?"

I recently read about a new Swiss study claiming that the ingredient titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles -- widely used as a white pigment in sunscreen, toothpaste and cosmetics -- provokes similar inflammatory effects on the lungs as asbestos. Yes, that asbestos. The stuff that can cause serious illnesses, "including malignant lung cancer, mesothelioma (a formerly rare cancer strongly associated with exposure to amphibole asbestos), and asbestosis (a type of pneumoconiosis)."   Read more >

When Your Kids' Camp Doesn't Take Sunscreen Seriously

Earlier this week, I caught wind of the Michener kids, who got severe sunburns after a field day spent without sunscreen due to a state law preventing adults from applying sunscreen to kids (even if they have the required prescription to put the sunscreen on in the first place). I thought to myself, "At least I don't have to worry about that." YES, THAT IS FORESHADOWING.   Read more >

Recent Posts by Melissa Ford

Comments

In order to comment on BlogHer.com, you'll need to be logged in. You'll be given the option to log in or create an account when you publish your comment. If you do not log in or create an account, your comment will not be displayed.