May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month and making sunscreen part of your outdoor gear is one way to reduce your risk of skin cancer. But with so many different sunscreens to choose from, picking the right one for your skin can be a challenge. To help you make the right choice, the American Academy of Dermatology shares this infographic on how to choose a sunscreen. Click here or on the image for the full infographic.
When buying a sunscreen, make sure to read the label. You want to make sure to check the following:
SPF 30 or higher – SPF stands for “sun protection factor.” It rates how effective the sunscreen is in preventing sunburn caused by UVB rays. Most experts recommend using SPF 30 or higher though they recommend avoiding products with SPF higher than 50. Experts believe that high SPF sunscreens give people a false sense of security, tempting them to stay out of the sun longer and waiting too long before re-applying. No matter how high your sunscreens SPF is make sure to always re-apply at least every two hours or as often as possible depending on your activity and exposure to the sun.
Broad Spectrum – While SPF protects the skin from UVB rays, it doesn’t give protection against UVA rays which causes skin-aging. To make sure that you are protected from both UVA and UVB, choose a sunscreen that has broad spectrum protection. You can also check the ingredients; look for products with zinc oxide, 3% avobenzone or Mexoryl SX. These are what protect skin from harmful UVA radiation.
Water resistant – The FDA has already restricted sunscreen labels from claiming that they are waterproof or sweat proof. Instead, check if it has a water-resistance of up to 40 minutes.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) also gives advice on ingredients that you should avoid when purchasing sunscreen and what not to use along with your sunscreen — check out their website for more sunscreen guides and tips. Here at Paddle Diva we sell our personal favorites: Raw Elements and Goddess Garden Organics — two all-natural sunscreens with all organic ingredients.
Remember that you shouldn’t depend solely on sunscreen products to protect your skin! If possible, avoid going out in the sun midday when it’s at its hottest. Also, don’t forget to cover-up: a broad-brimmed hat will help protect your head, face and eyes; sunglasses can help filter out UV radiation; and wear long sleeves and pants if you aren’t swimming. There are also specially made sun-protective clothes that you can purchase like BlogUV Apparel.
Stop by the Paddle Diva SUP Center to check out the sun protection gear we offer.