Wear Sunscreen - What's Best

A glowing tan represents glowing health. Despite all of the debates and warnings, people still flock to beaches and poolside's to get the ultimate tan. There is a myriad of sunscreens, sun lotions and oils, and self-tanning concoctions on the market today. You can even get natural, biodegradable sunscreens. There is also a myriad of conflicting and controversial information about these products. What are we supposed to believe?

Knowledge about sunlight helps. You don’t have to be a physicist to understand a basic overview. Ultraviolet light is classified by wavelength. We have UVA, UVB, and UVC.

The shorter the wavelength, the greater the damage is to the skin. UVC has the shortest wavelength but it doesn't’t reach the ground. So, we need to worry about UVA and UVB. It appears that sunscreen molecules address the shorter UVB rays by absorbing them. The longer UVA rays, however, go beyond skin deep. Scientists are still trying to sort out wavelength and skin damage/skin cancer. The important piece: protection!

SPF, or sun protection factor, addresses UVB. Most “experts” recommend SPF 15 or higher but you will still get a nice tan with SPF 30 or 40 so why take any chances? For UVA protection, look for products containing Parsol 1789, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, or zinc oxide. These broad spectrum sunscreens seem to be the best protection so far from UVA.

Be sure to use a separate sunscreen for your face, that is, one that is for faces and noncomedogenic. (Noncomedogenic means it won’t break out your skin.)

Skin protection only begins with sunscreen, which you need to constantly reapply throughout the day (at least every 2 hours). Apply it more often if you are sweating profusely or swimming. Hats provide protection for your face. You can always put on a shirt. Avoid the mid-day sun. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes prior to exposure so it will soak into your skin. Keep it away from your eyes. Remember, you can get sunburned on a cloudy day and on a cold day.

Dermatologists say sun exposure is cumulative. In other words 10 minutes of exposure every day for 6 days is the same as 1 full hour in the sun. All the small everyday exposures add up. There are many moisturizers with sunscreen built in that can help you reduce the damage to your skin from these small daily exposures.

And the winner is . . .

According to Consumersearch.com, customer opinion research puts Neutrogena UVA/UVB Sunblock Lotion as one of the best. It contains Parsol 1789, an ingredient which, as mentioned above, address UVA. Customers say that Neutrogena does not run into your eyes or sweat off. It comes in 30 and 45 SPF and does not irritate sensitive skin.

To find out what you can eat to help prevent sunburn, read on.