Choosing A Sunscreen

Posted Thu, 04/29/2010 - 7:15am by Camilla Cheung

Filed Under:

With summer on the way, it will soon be time to break out the sunscreen again. But which sunscreen is best? With the proliferation of sunscreen products on the shelves, how do you know which kind to buy?

Choose Broad-Spectrum

In the course of our exposure to the sun, our skin absorbs both UVB and UVA ultraviolet rays. UVB rays cause sunburn, darkening of the skin, and damage to the outer layer of the skin that can cause cancer. UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin, causing skin aging, lines and wrinkles, and cell damage that can lead to cancer. It is important to choose a sunscreen that offers protection against both UVB and UVA rays, which is often referred to as “broad-spectrum” sunscreen.

UVB vs. UVA Protection

On every bottle of sunscreen you see on supermarket shelves, you will see a large number declaring the SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, of the sunscreen. Common SPF numbers range from 15, 30, 45, and even higher.

However, what you may not know about SPF is that it only measures a sunscreen’s effectiveness against UVB rays, and not the harmful UVA rays that penetrate deeper into the skin. Unfortunately, in the U.S. there is no current method of determining how much your sunscreen will protect against UVA rays.

One way to check if your sunscreen protects against UVA rays is to see if it contains Parsol 1789 (or avobenzone) or Mexoryl, two chemicals that filter UVA rays. However, the safety of these chemicals has recently been called into question, as they may mimic human hormones. The long-term effects of Parsol 1789 and Mexoryl are not clear.

A better defense against UVA rays is sunscreen that physically blocks the rays from reaching your skin. Sunscreens with zinc oxide and titanium oxide may do a better job of protecting your skin, and as they are not absorbed by the skin, seem to be safer. The downside of physical blocking agents is that they can form a white film on top of the skin that many people do not like. Nevertheless, they may be your best option.

Some sunscreens sold in other countries have some methods for determining how much they block UVA rays. In Japan, the designation PA+, PA++ and PA+++ indicates progressively better UVA protection, while in the UK, up to five stars placed next to the SPF number indicate how well the sunscreen protects against UVA rays.

Is Higher SPF Better?

Counter to what you might expect, an SPF of 30 does not mean it is twice as effective as an SPF of 15. SPF 15 blocks 94% of the sun’s UVB rays, whereas SPF 30 blocks 97%. In suncreens higher than SPF 45, any improvement is minimal. However, doctors recommend an SPF 30 over SPF 15, because most people do not apply enough sunscreen to make the SPF as effective as promised.

Apply Plenty of Sunscreen and do it Early

Don’t be afraid to slather it on! Most people don’t apply enough sunscreen to make the sunscreen fully effective. Adults should apply about 2 tablespoons of cream sunscreen, and children about half that.

Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before you plan to go out in the sun so it has time to absorb into your skin.

Reapply frequently — even if you are not swimming or sweating, sunscreen can disappear from your skin after a few hours. If you are swimming, use a waterproof sunscreen, and reapply sunscreen after you exit the water.

This post was included in the All Things Family Blog Carnival:The Great Outdoors Edition.



It's going to be finish of

Submitted by on Fri, 12/05/2014 - 7:10am.

It's going to be finish of mine day, except before finish I am reading this great article to improve
my know-how.


Great blog here! Also your

Submitted by short sleeve vest on Wed, 05/06/2015 - 5:04pm.

Great blog here! Also your website loads up fast! What web host are you using?
Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol


all the time i used to read

Submitted by YouTube on Wed, 05/13/2015 - 3:54am.

all the time i used to read smaller articles or reviews which also clear their motive, and that is also happening with this piece of writing
which I am reading now.


magnificent points

Submitted by on Fri, 06/05/2015 - 11:52pm.

magnificent points altogether, you just won a brand new reader.
What would you suggest about your post that you simply made some days ago?
Any certain?


First of all I want to say

Submitted by Leora on Tue, 06/16/2015 - 11:09am.

First of all I want to say great blog! I had a quick question that I'd like to ask
if you do not mind. I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your head prior
to writing. I have had a tough time clearing my mind in getting my ideas out there.
I truly do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually lost just trying to
figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or hints? Many thanks!


Hello There. I found your

Submitted by on Sat, 06/13/2015 - 11:43pm.

Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article.
I'll make sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post.
I will certainly comeback.


Nice weblog right here!

Submitted by on Wed, 07/01/2015 - 5:32am.

Nice weblog right here! Additionally your site so much up very fast!
What host are you the usage of? Can I get your affiliate hyperlink on your host?
I want my website loaded up as fast as yours lol


Our commitment is to provide

Submitted by clarck on Mon, 03/23/2015 - 12:11am.

Our commitment is to provide our customers the best shopping experience possible with our personalized customer service at a safe and secure environment. We proudly stand behind the quality of products that we sell because we believe in providing our customers the best quality and affordable fine watches together with excellent customer service


What i do not understood is

Submitted by on Sat, 06/13/2015 - 6:56pm.

What i do not understood is in fact how you're now not really much
more well-appreciated than you may be right now.
You're so intelligent. You understand therefore considerably with regards to this topic,
made me in my view imagine it from so many numerous angles.
Its like men and women are not fascinated until it's something to accomplish with Girl gaga!
Your personal stuffs excellent. All the time handle it up!


I will immediately clutch

Submitted by on Tue, 06/30/2015 - 4:04am.

I will immediately clutch your rss feed as I can't to find your
email subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do
you've any? Kindly permit me realize in order that I may just subscribe.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.