Do you like to burn? Do you like to wrinkle? If not, then this is the article for you.
You may have heard that sunburns and most visible signs of aging come from exposure to the sun's ultraviolet radiation (UV). In fact, there are two types of UV rays, UVA (aging) and UVB (burning). Combined they can turn your fun beach weekend into a I-feel-like-an-aged-lobster weekend.
But how do you protect your skin? Enter sunscreen, your secret weapon against UV rays. But what sort of sunscreen should you wear? One important factor to weigh is the sunscreen's SPF rating.
What is SPF?
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. It is a guide to how much UVB rays the sunscreen will block. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, SPF30 blocks 97 percent of UVB rays, while SPF 50 blocks 98 percent. It also adds that it “may seem like negligible differences, but if you are light-sensitive, or have a history of skin cancer, those extra percentages will make a difference.”
So how much SPF do you need? Again, the recommendation is at least SPF 30 (which can be found in a lot of moisturizers and BB creams). But if you are going to be spending a lot of time outdoors (gardening, hiking, waiting in line for concert tickets) make sure to wear a higher SPF and reapply. Remember, even if the SPF is higher it still wears off and stops protecting you.
But wait, what about UVA rays (aging rays)? That is where the term “broad-spectrum” comes in. Broad-spectrum sunscreens generally have three or more active ingredients to block, not just UVB but UVA rays as well.
Make sure to read labels and to reapply your sunscreen according to the bottle’s directions if you’re going to be out of doors for extended periods. Also, apply it generously. Applying just a little bit will give you just a little bit of protection.
Here are some of our favorite sunscreens:
This broad spectrum sunscreen protects you from harmful UVA/UVB rays while also giving your skin a healthy dose of antioxidants. It's oil-free, fragrance free and recommended for sensitive skin.
Amazing for acne-prone skin, this sunscreen is zinc oxide based and leaves no residue. It also contains niacinamide and hyaluronic acid for younger, healthier looking skin.
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Water Resistant and Non-Greasy Sunscreen Lotion with Broad Spectrum SPF 100+
Ultra-light and shine-free, this suncreen contain's Neutrogena's famous helioplex broad spectrum technology that protects you from UVA and UVB rays. Reviewers love that it goes on sheer and doesn't leave a white residue.
Water resistant up to 80 minutes, this sunscreen provides UVA/UVB protection that meets the American Cancer Society guidelines. Its fans report that it "smells like summer." Can you get better than that?
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Water Resistant and Non-Greasy Sunscreen Lotion with Broad Spectrum SPF 45
Another great product from the Neutrogena Dry-Touch line, this one comes at a lower SPF and provides a great value for the price.