With summer right around the corner, men and women alike are heading to the beach to get that summer tan. As you are packing your beach bag, there is one important thing that everyone needs to pack: sunscreen. But with sunscreen SPFs ranging from 4 to 100, which do we one should we get?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, your sunscreen needs to have 3 things:
- Broad-spectrum protection to protect against UVA and UVB rays
- Sun protection factor (SPF) 30 or higher
- Water resistance
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, it is unnecessary to get a sunscreen SPF above 50. This is because a sunscreen with an sun protection factor of 50 is already blocking 98% of UVA & UVB rays; therefore, any SPF higher is not making a significant impact on your level of protection. They recommend getting a sunscreen with SPF ranging between 30 and 50.
Remember that while sunscreen will help protect your skin from sunburn, early aging, and skin cancer, no sunscreen will protect you fully. Dermatologists recommend taking the following extra precautions:
- Seek shade when the sun’s rays are the strongest between 10am and 2pm.
- Use extra precaution when near water, snow, and sand as they reflect the sun’s rays increasing your chance of sunburn.
- Avoid tanning beds.
- Regardless of gender, race, or age, everyone should be using sunscreen.
- Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before going outdoors and every 2 hours you are outside.
- Make sure to use lip balm with SPF as lips can get skin cancer as well.
- Babies under 6 months of age should avoid the sun as often as possible. If in the sun, they should wear protective clothing.