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Kick Off Memorial Day with the Perfect Sunscreen!
Summer kicks off on Memorial Day and that means you need to break out the sunscreen! There are a zillion myths, questions, and opinions out there on what to buy and where to apply. Even the rich and famous get it wrong! Sweet raccoon eyes, Kim! I'll answer your top questions so you can keep protected all day long.
Q: What does the SPF number mean?
A: SPF stands for sunburn protection factor. The number only protects against ultraviolet radiation B (UVB), which causes burning. The SPF level doesn't measure protection against ultraviolet radiation A (UVA), which causes aging of the skin. According to the American Cancer Society, both types of UV rays cause cancer! So YOU MUST look for sunscreens that protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Remember- a high SPF number doesn't ensure your product is protecting you from UVA so read the label!
Q: Just how protective are sunscreens?
A: The bad news is that sunscreens tend to make people feel safer than they really are. People tend to stay in the sun all day, assuming they are fine. While sunscreen is important, it can't deliver the same protection as being indoors or wearing a hat or long sleeves. Choose wisely this Memorial Day!
A: Nope. Not all skin types are the same. So that pool buddy you have with the olive skin- don't borrow hers! SPF ratings are averages. For someone who burns easily, a sunscreen that's labeled SPF 30 may act more like an SPF 10. I tell my girlfriends who burn easily and want added daily protection in their makeup to try Colorscience Sunforgettable Mineral Sun Protection ($14). It combines the flawless matte look of a mineral powder with an SPF 30. Awesome!
A: Not necessarily. The SPF testing system may not accurately measure anything above SPF 50, according to the Food and Drug Administration. FDA is working on having sunscreens with protection over 50 labeled "SPF 50+". The Skin Cancer Foundation, which promotes sun protection, says that in most cases, "SPFs beyond 50 are unnecessary." Who'd a thought? It's a personal decision, but don't feel pressure to waste your money. I fully trust Epicuren X-Treme Cream SPF 45. It has all you need with nothing you don't.
Q: So how much SPF do you really need?
A: The American Academy of Dermatology recommends both adults and children use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Babies under 6 months shouldn't get any direct sunlight. Make sure you use enough of the product. Lots of people get burned because they aren't applying enough.
Q: What kind of ingredients should you look for?
A: In addition to protection against both UVA and UVB rays, the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends looking for a combination of avobenzone, ecamsule (also known as Mexoryl), titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
A: Although scientists disagree, most doctors say there's no clear evidence that sunscreen ingredients are harmful. The hype came about because of a study that showed retinyl and palimate were harmful to rats. The Skin Cancer Foundation found they weren't harmful on humans. Chemicals get a bad wrap these days but I still recommend using sunscreen Memorial Day and every day. In fact, I advise using a daily moisturizer with SPF already in it. Dermaquest Solar Moisturizer ($32) delivers good moisture and protection.
Hope Memorial Day is the first of many fun days of summer! Please enjoy under the protection of a great sunscreen! Safety First:) Contemplating a tanning bed for a base tan? Here's what you need to know!