Sunscreen is one of the most important things that you can do for your skin, all year round. Sunscreen is readily available as a standalone product, but in some cases, it may already be in the products you use. SPF or sun protection factor is a guideline when determining a products ability to prevent sun damage to the skin. For your information, the lower the SPF, the lower the percentage of the product working in your favor. For example, a product with an SPF 15 only blocks 93% of UVB rays. Therefore, the higher the SPF, the better chance you have at the product protecting your skin. As a reminder, sun damage is one of the leading causes of skin cancer (i.e., basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas.)
Here are a few tips when searching for a sunscreen:
1) Do you want a physical sunblock or a chemical sunblock (and yes, there is a difference)? A physical sunblock is a type of screen where it sits atop the skin and physically blocks the UV rays from being absorbed into the skin. One example of a physical sunblock is zinc oxide. A chemical sunblock is a type of screen where it is absorbed into the skin, and it absorbs the UV rays as well.
2) What are my needs? A physical sunblock is an excellent option for those with skin sensitivities. If you are physically active (i.e., running, swimming, bike riding, etc.), ideally a chemical sunblock is easier to use because of the ability to be absorbed into the skin quickly.
SPF is found in many products, not just standalone sunscreens. It can be found in lip balms, moisturizers and more. My recommendations are as follows:
A. The entire Coppertone Brand line. Coppertone is a leader in the sunscreen product field and for a good reason. They offer a multitude of products from lotions and creams to sprays and lip balms as well as a range of SPF indexes. The entire line offers broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection and the products can be found at a variety of retailers. My favorite is the Coppertone Defend & Care. It is lightweight, goes on smoothly and absorbs quickly into the skin.
B. CeraVe Ultra-light moisturizing lotion SPF 30. The product is an oil-free moisturizer that is great for all skin types and recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation. It is lightweight and gentle on the skin. It is fragrance-free and super hydrating. This is a great option for everyday use.