The Lowdown on Sunscreen
We've come to correct our preconceptions about "healthy tans," that is, we now know there's no such thing. Bread is supposed to be toasted, not skin. If you want to know more about the right way to prevent those rays from triggering melanomas or skin cancer then search no more. Read on for the nitty-gritty on sunscreen: how to select, apply, and use it the right way.
Timing is everything
Don't wait until just before you leave home to apply sunscreen. It's best to apply sunscreen half an hour before sun exposure. That's how long it takes for the cream to be absorbed by the skin and makes it less prone to washed away by perspiration.
Reapply sunscreen after swimming or a workout.
Reapply sunscreen often if you work outdoors and don't neglect to wear a hat and protective clothing.
Get it On
Shake well before using: sunscreen has a tendency to clump up in the container. You may want to try spray-on or stick sunscreen for easier application.
Don't by stingy: you want to use a handful of sunscreen to give your entire body coverage.
Don't skip parts of your skin that will be exposed to the sun: you don't want to neglect your ears, back, shoulders, and behind the knees.
Use an even, thick layer of sunscreen.
Take care not to get sunscreen into your eyes.
The Right Stuff
Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 that will protect you against both UV-A and UV-B rays.
Read the labels. You want a waterproof brand if you'll be sweating or swimming. You can try a product that claims not to sting, or you may want to try one that is formulated for the face.
Some people are sensitive to para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), so you may want to check the label for this common ingredient. There are a variety of active chemicals used in sunscreens, so if you're sensitive to one kind, try another.
If you're prone to acne or have oily skin, try a water-based sunscreen.
Cost is not a factor in how effective a product will be. Expensive sunscreens may have a better smell or feel, but it's the active ingredient that is important and sunscreens based on specific active ingredients can be found in any price range.
Sneak a peek at the expiration date of your sunscreen, since some active ingredients do degrade with time.