How to Choose the Right Sunscreen

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How to Choose the Right Sunscreen

By: Alia Savage

As the weather heats up, it’s natural to want to venture outdoors to soak up the sun.  Unfortunately, the same sun that’s responsible for warming our planet and giving us a sun-kissed glow is also responsible for giving off harmful UV rays, known as ultraviolet radiation.

Prolonged, repeated exposure can cause skin cancer and other immune system disorders, according to, but sunscreen can protect us! Still, it’s not one size fits all. The sunscreen you need will depend on your age, skin tone, and the length of time you plan to be outdoors.

How To Choose The Right Level of SPF
It’s a widely held myth that only light-skinned people need sunscreen. While it is true that darker skin doesn’t burn as easily as light skin, anyone who’s going to spend any amount of time outside needs to wear a sunscreen with an SPF (skin protection factor) of 15 or greater.

If you intend to spend several consecutive hours outdoors, then you need a sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30, which which will block out 97 percent of UV rays. If you burn easily, it might be in your best interest to invest in a sunscreen with an SPF of up to 50. WikiHow warns, however, that anything with an SPF above 50 only marginally increases your protection and probably isn’t worth the money.

Choose Your Preferred Type
There are two main types of sunscreen: cream based and spray on.

Both types are available with varying levels of SPF and neither is particularly better than the other. But for practical purposes, spray on sunscreen might work better for people who spend a lot of time at the beach and want a quick way to apply. Or for those with small children.

Follow The Instructions
After you choose which type of sunscreen best fits your plans, you should make sure to closely follow the instructions. Most sunscreen should be applied thirty minutes prior to going outdoors, and then in two-hour intervals. Directions will vary slightly based on the brand that you choose so, make sure to read everything before applying.

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