– Did you know that you can help lower your risk of developing skin cancer and skin damage caused from sun exposure by applying a skin care product? Research shows that using a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher on a consistent basis can reduce these risks. Choosing an easy-to-apply sunscreen with the right level of protection for your needs can help you stick to a healthy sun care routine. At drugstore.com, we have an impressive assortment of sunscreens so you can find that perfect formula to protect your skin and your health. read more about all sunscreen »
A sunscreen's Sun Protection Factor or SPF is one of its most important features, but many people don't understand what the number beside those letters really means. The SPF is a measure of how much ultraviolet B (UVB) a sunscreen can keep away from your skin.
With an SPF 15 sunscreen, your skin is shielded from roughly 93 percent of UVB, while an SPF 30 sunscreen protects you from 97 percent of UVB. SPF 50 sunscreens increase protection slightly by absorbing or reflecting 98 percent of UVB. For a complete approach to sun protection, you should look for products that are "broad spectrum." This means that they also protect the skin from a second form of UV called ultraviolet A (UVA).
Chemical vs Physical Sunscreen
Sunscreens can protect your skin in one of two ways. Some sunscreens create a barrier over your skin that reflects ultraviolet energy. Called physical sunscreens, these products contain one or both of the natural minerals titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. The natural nature of physical sunscreens makes them appealing to many people, particularly those with skin sensitivity issues.
Other sunscreens absorb the ultraviolet energy before it reaches your skin. These sunscreens are called chemical sunscreens. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved numerous substances for use as active ingredients in chemical sunscreens. Most products feature a combination of these ingredients. People who prefer chemical sunscreens may feel that they're easier to apply or that they're less visible on the skin.
Find Your Favorite Way to Apply
For your sunscreen to fully protect your skin, you need to reapply it at least every two hours. If you swim or sweat a lot, you may need to reapply it even sooner. Because reapplication is so important to ensuring effectiveness, you need a sunscreen that will be easy for you to use when you're enjoying time in the sun.
Some brands offer sunscreens in many different forms to provide something for every need. Traditional lotions make it easy for you to measure how much sunscreen you're applying to ensure that you use the full ounce recommended by experts for best results.
Lotions are often enriched with moisturizers to help keep skin hydrated during the day as an added benefit.
Gel sunscreens also allow for easy measuring, but they feel lighter on the skin, as they don't contain the same moisturizing ingredients as lotions.
Stick sunscreens glide on quickly and are less messy than lotions.
Spray formulas also speed up application and can cover a larger area at once than a stick. Many people like sprays because they can make it easier to reach spots like the middle of the back and the backs of the legs.