Most people are aware of the benefits of using sunscreen to protect their skin from damaging UV radiation. Regular use of sunscreen reduces the risk one’s risk of developing skin cancer, and prevents premature aging of the skin.
However, pharmacy aisles are lined with an overwhelming number of sunscreen brands making difficult to make an informed decision. Some sunscreens offer sun protection factor of 15 (SPF 15) while others offer SPF 100. Some sunscreens are water-resistant while others claim that they are “waterproof”. Some sunscreens offer both UVA and UVB protection while others don’t.
The FDA is revising its rules for sunscreen labeling, but meanwhile people are buying sunscreens for themselves and their families with incomplete information.
Expert Opinion from Dermatologist Dr. Jeffrey Ellis
“Protecting your skin from the sun is a safe thing to do. UV rays are a known carcinogen. Sunscreen is an important tool to help protect your skin from the sun, but remember that not all sun protection comes in a bottle. Use of protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses, as well as seeking shade and avoiding the sun between 10am and 4pm are all tools that one can utilize to help minimize harmful UV rays.
When choosing a sunscreen, we encourage our patients to use SPF 30. This will protect 97% of UV rays. Many of our patients have expressed concerns regarding some sunscreens that may contain harmful chemicals. For sun safety tips and a list of the safest sunscreens to use, according to a 2009 report by the environmental working group, we refer our patients to the website SunSmartSkinSafe.com.”