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The regular use of sunscreen is a critical step for reducing the risk of developing skin cancer and preventing the premature aging of the skin caused by sun exposure.


Despite what we know about the harmful effects of UV radiation from the sun, rising rates of skin cancer and actinic keratoses indicate that more people than ever are spending too much time in the sun without sufficient sun protection.

Advances in sunscreen formulations make it easier than ever to use sunscreen each and every time you are out in the sun.

Keep the following sunscreen tips in mind.

Use a "broad-spectrum" sunscreen that protects you from BOTH UVA and UVB rays

Select a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30

Sunscreen application

Slather it on! Most people use less than 1/2 of what is recommended

Reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours. Reapply immediately after swimming or sweating, even with so-called "water-resistant" brands

Consider a "physical sunscreen"

Most sunscreens in stores are “chemical sunscreens”. They use chemicals that interact with the skin to absorb UV radiation. “Physical sunscreens” use inert minerals to deflect or scatter the UV radiation, like microscopic mirrors.

Common ingredients of “physical sunscreens” include zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or iron oxide. Many formulations will combine these ingredients to provide a wide range of UV protection.

Physical sunscreens are less likely to cause allergic reactions and they start working immediately once they are applied to the skin. This makes them useful options for children with sensitive skin or who are too impatient to wait before going out in the sun.

Although past formulations were unsightly (often leaving a white film on the skin), newer "microfine" formulations are invisible after being applied. Microfine titanium dioxide is effective at protecting from both UVA and UVB rays.

These products were once referred to as “sunblocks” but that terminology was thought to be misleading since they do not offer 100% protection and they too require regular re-application.

Don’t rely only on sunscreens alone for protection

Other Sun Protection Tips