Already starting to pack for your summer beach trip? Don’t forget one of the most important things: sunscreen. Though it may seem like a big drag to apply, using sunscreen pays off. Skin cancer, of which UV (ultraviolet) light coming from sun is the main cause, is the most common cancer in the United States. Using sunscreen can go a long way in prevention.
Here is a helpful guide to reading sunscreen labels (in light of the ever-changing FDA regulations):
So, what SPF is right for you? First off, SPF refers to the number of the sun’s rays getting through sunscreen and hitting sun. Dr. Steven Wang, director of dermatology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, says that while generally a high SPF is better, because less rays are getting through, you still need to be sure your sunscreen is blocking both kinds of rays – UVA and UVB – labelled as “broad spectrum.” It’s also important to know that wearing a high SPF doesn’t make you more negligent of other sun protections. Dr. Wang’s general advice? Look for an SPF of no lower than 30, but no higher than 50 (after which point the increase in protection is minimal).
If you haven’t already, now’s a good time to go pick up some sunscreen so you have it on hand for your summer adventures!