According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancers are more prevalent than ever. The foundation states that one out of every five Americans will get skin cancer at some point in their lives. Majority of the time, the development of skin cancer is directly linked to the amount and strength of ultraviolet (UV) light exposure we receive from the sun. When done correctly, it is easy to limit excessive UV exposure (lowering the risk of skin cancer) by using sun protection like sunscreen.
If you walk down the aisle in the beauty section, usually the aisle where the lotion is, you will most definitely find a section filled with different types of sunscreens. It can be overwhelming. Sunscreen products are full of ingredients that work to absorb UV rays and change the radiation coming from the sun into heat energy, which then acts as a physical sunscreen that helps to bounce and scatter the rays before they enter the skin.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the SPF — or Sun Protection Factor — in sunscreen is a measure of a sunscreen’s ability to prevent damaging the skin from UVB. For instance, an SPF of 15 would allow you to stay in the sun 15 times longer than you could without protection.
The Skin Cancer Foundation gives another way to look at it is in terms of percentages: SPF 15 filters out approximately 93% of all incoming UVB rays. SPF 30 keeps out 97% and SPF 50 keeps out 98%. It’s also important to make sure the sunscreen you use is labeled as “broad spectrum,” which helps you get all the wrinkle-busting and skin-protecting coverage benefits.
Remember: skin is the body’s largest organ and with the sun getting hotter each year, wearing sunscreen every day is the best thing you can do for your skin and overall health. This is true even for those with darker complexions and if you’re especially worried about signs of aging.
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends anyone over the age of 6 months should use a sunscreen daily. For infants 6 months and younger, they should not get any sun exposure because their skin is very sensitive to the chemical in sunscreen and sun rays. It’s best to keep your baby in the shade and make sure they are wearing protective clothing.