Choosing the Right Sunscreen Jun 8, 2021 / by Complete Family Dermatology Team
Who else is enjoying the summer sun? While you should be wearing sunscreen 365 days a year, it’s incredibly important to wear sunscreen in the summertime. The sun’s rays are stronger, the days are longer, and you’re probably spending more time outside. Before purchasing sunscreen, you need to read the labels to find one that will protect your skin the best. Here are some tips for when it comes to choosing the right sunscreen…
Understanding the LabelThe Food and Drug Administration regulates sunscreen by testing its quality, safety, and effectiveness. Their guidelines require the bottles to be labeled. Here are some terms you should look for when buying sunscreen...
Broad SpectrumNot all sunscreens are broad spectrum, so it’s important that you look for one that is. Sunscreens that are labeled with “broad spectrum” means that they have been tested and approved to protect against the sun’s ultraviolet rays. The broad spectrum sunscreen works as a barrier that absorbs or reflects the UV rays before it damages your skin. It will protect you from two types of harmful UV rays — UVA and UVB. Most sunscreens will protect you from UVB, which is the primary cause of sunburns. But, it’s UVA that contributes to skin aging and skin cancer. Sunscreens that aren’t broad spectrum must carry a warning saying that they don’t protect against skin aging and skin cancer, only sunburns.
Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30When choosing a sunscreen, you’ll want to look for one that has a Sun Protection Factor of 30 or higher (SPF 30). The SPF is an indicator of how much protection the sunscreen provides against UVB rays. Higher values, such as SPF 50, provide more protection. As stated by the American Cancer Association, the higher you go, the less difference it becomes. Here are the calculations they shared:
- SPF 15 sunscreens filter out about 93% of UVB rays
- SPF 30 sunscreens filter out about 97% of UVB rays
- SPF 50 sunscreens filter out about 98% of UVB rays
- SPF 100 sunscreens filter out about 99% of UVB rays