Experts' tips for choosing the safest sunscreen
- Author: Sidney Guerrero May 24, 2017,
May 24, 2017, 4:08
Using sunscreens with lower SPFs can protect you from burns; however, your skin can still be damaged even if you don't burn. Their skin needs protection from the sun's harmful rays whenever UV peaks. This year, out of the 60 sunscreen types tested, 23 provided less than half their SPF claim. "It's also valuable to understand that your behavior will have a lot to do with whether you develop skin cancer since more than 90 percent of all non-melanoma skin cancers are the result of sun exposure". But only to the level of an SPF 4, which gives you protection for about 45 minutes. The numbers are more like a strong marketing ploy: People flock to high-SPF products because they think they can apply them once and forget about them, Lunder says.
"The correct amount of sunscreen to be applied - or reapplied - is one ounce", says Brevard, Florida-based dermatologist, Dr. Richard C. Kirkpatrick. Not so fast, says Lunder.
An estimated 5.6 million Americans will confront skin cancer in 2017. And almost two in 10 were unaware that after an initial slathering of sunscreen, they needed to reapply more. The risk of melanoma and other skin cancers increases with each tan, especially tanning booths. UVB is associated with skin cancer and sunburn while UVA is known to have more effects on skin wrinkling, leathering and sagging.
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When it comes to sunscreen application and use, many people are still getting it wrong. But UVA and UVB protection do not harmonize, and because the FDA caps the number of active ingredients in a product, high SPF sunscreens-which are geared toward protecting against UVB rays-leave very little room for anti-UVA ingredients like zinc oxide and avobenzone.
He suggests mineral block sunscreens, which contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, until a child is older. He notes that aerosol sprays can also be tricky because people often spray them on their skin and miss large patches of the skin. A 2015 study found that people who used sprays applied less than those using creams.
EWG representatives say parents and consumers should use caution with two ingredients, oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate.
In a now-viral Facebook post uploaded earlier this month, Rebecca Cannon said she purchased Banana Boat Kids SPF50 protect baby Kyla from the sun, only to be horrified by what happened next. And when in doubt, always bring a shirt and hat.