3 Tips for Selecting a Good Sunscreen

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Gone are the days when people would bake out in the sun for hours, hoping for the deepest, darkest tan. While being outside is a lot of fun, the medical community has shown that sun damage not only increases the risk of skin cancer, it can also contribute to wrinkles and other signs of premature aging.

As a result, more people are using sunscreen regularly. In fact, wearing sunscreen and reapplying it frequently is one of the best ways to avoid painful sunburns, potentially deadly melanoma and keep skin looking healthy.

Consumers are also becoming more aware of the disparity in the effectiveness between different types of sunscreens. Reading a label before making a purchase is often the best way to ensure getting the sunscreen that meets one's needs.

Here are some tips for selecting a good sunscreen:

1. Check the SPF: Also known as “sun protection factor,” this number reflects the effectiveness of the sunscreen at blocking the UVB rays that cause sunburn. The higher the SPF, the more protective the sunscreen. It should be noted, however, that all sunscreens should be re-applied frequently while outdoors, particularly after swimming.

2. Review effective ingredients: There are variety of ingredients that are used as sun blocks. Unfortunately, some active ingredients are not as effective at providing what is called “full spectrum” sun protection. This often means that while the sunscreen may well protect against UVB rays, it does not provide adequate protection against the UVA rays that can cause skin aging. This is why many people are often on the lookout for the best sunscreen without oxybenzone, as they want to use a product that contains a full spectrum active ingredient such as avobenzone or titanium dioxide.

3. Review other ingredients: Many people have sensitivities to coloring agents, scents and certain moisturizers. Unfortunately, in the quest to find a sunscreen that has a high SPF number or full spectrum protection, people overlook the rest of the product label.

For example, nut oils are sometimes used as a hydrating base in sunscreens, but many people have nut allergies. Products like Rocky Mountain Sunscreen SPF70 are often used by adults and children with sensitivities, as these products have been formulated to eliminate most of the ingredients that can trigger a reaction.

Finding the right sunscreen can be a bit of an ordeal, but the process can be speeded up if the consumer knows what to look for. Take a few minutes to read product labels and, when necessary, ask questions before buying a product.


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Kylie Wiser is an herbalist specializing in skincare and women's health. She shares recipes and resources on Everblossom to help others live a more holistic lifestyle. She lives in Fargo, ND with her huge family and lots of houseplants.

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