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  • Writer's pictureKMC

Decoding Sunscreen Labels

We have all been there...trying to pick from a wall of sunscreens, but what does all that lingo mean? Keep reading as we walk you through what you should look for in order to keep yourself safe from the sun.

Broad-Spectrum - This sunscreen will protect you from the sun's harmful UVA (ultraviolet A) and UVB (ultraviolet B) rays. Broad-Spectrum sunscreen protects your skin from skin cancer, wrinkles, age spots, sagging skin, and sunburns. Water-Resistant - No sunscreen is waterproof, only water-resistant. It is important to reapply sunscreen after toweling off. Even if your skin remains dry while using a water-resistant sunscreen, you'll need to reapply the sunscreen every 2 hours. SPF 30 or higher - SPF = Sunburn Protection Factor. The SPF number tells you how much UVB (burning) light can be filtered out. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends using an SPF of 30 or higher. SPF 30 will filter out 97% of the sun's UVB rays. It is important to know, no sunscreen can filter out 100%, so it is imperative to seek shade and wear protective clothing in addition to wearing sunscreen. Reapply every 2 hours - Sunscreen will only last so long on your skin. The sun's rays will break down some and others will clump and lose effectiveness. Remember to reapply every 2 hours after toweling off or being in water and if you're sweating. Mineral Sunscreen - Mineral sunscreens work as a shield and sit on top of your skin, deflecting the sun's rays. Zinc Oxide is a common mineral and really the gold standard in mineral sunscreens. This is also a great option for people with sensitive skin! Chemical Sunscreen - Chemical sunscreens work like a sponge, absorbing the sun's rays, leaving no white residue and making it easier to rub into the skin. Chemical sunscreen may contain one or more active ingredients, including Oxybenzone or Avobenzene. "Baby" Sunscreen - In general, these sunscreens only use minerals for their active ingredients, such as Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide. These minerals are less likely to irritate a baby's sensitive skin. The AAD does not recommend the use of sunscreen on baby's under six months of age. Instead, keep them in the shade and keep their skin covered, being careful not to allow them to overheat. In children six months of age and older, use a "baby" sunscreen or mineral sunscreen. Fill a shot glass - Most adults need 1 ounce of sunscreen to cover their body (approximately the amount of a full shot glass). Be sure to rub the sunscreen into your skin 15 minutes before sun exposure.

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