It’s summertime and the sun is finally starting to show. Now comes the time to choose a sunscreen that will protect your skin from those harmful UV rays we hear about all the time. Before grabbing the sunscreen next to the breath mints at checkout however, take some time to learn which sun blocker is going to give you the most bang for your buck.

So, what is an “SPF” anyway?

Sun Protection Factor rates how long the sunscreen is going to remain effective on your skin after application. If you want to work out the math, multiply the SPF by how long it takes your skin to suffer from a burn after being exposed to the sun with no protection at all.

For example: If you normally burn after 10 minutes with no protection, an SPF 15 will provide you with approximately 150 minutes of protection. Now here’s the rub: the effectiveness of a sunscreen can be lessened depending on the activity.

So, what do you need?

A summer tan may be stylish but remember that every time you go into the sun without adequate protection you are increasing your odds of developing serious skin conditions down the line. Not to mention more immediate effects such as burned skin, dryness and irritation. Your skin is a sensitive system that relies on being properly protected in order to function optimally. If you don’t want to develop rough, wrinkled skin that looks like leather, pay attention to the SPF your choosing.

An SPF of at least 15 is recommended but research shows that kicking that up to an SPF 30 will provide significantly more protection during the day. Also, you can’t just apply once and forget it. Sunscreen should be applied at least every 2 hours (maybe more if you are swimming or sweating).

Types of Sunscreens Available

There are two types of sunscreens available: chemical and physical.

Chemical sunscreens will absorb the UV rays but carry the risk on increasing the likelihood of developing certain types of cancers.

Physical sunscreens contain active ingredients that will reflect the harmful rays away from the skin.

What Ingredients to Look For

Search for ingredients such as titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, red petrolatum, or talc. These are commonly used in physical sunscreens and work well to protect the skin without adverse side effects.

Great Choices This Summer:

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