As the spring sun warms up the land and becomes stronger and stronger, sunscreen displays are becoming more prominent in stores everywhere. While you should always apply sunscreen when going outdoors – even when the weather is chilly or cloudy – many people still ignore that advice and only reserve it for hot, sunny weather.
Got sunscreen in your home already? That might not be good enough, as it turns out. According to the EWG, what’s in your sunscreen really matters. Read your labels and get ready to restock your sunscreen arsenal.
Choose Broad Spectrum Protection
Not all sunscreen is created equal. Make sure the one you choose says “broad spectrum protection” on the label. Without it, you will prevent sunburn when applying it at regular intervals but you won’t stop other types of skin damage from occurring.
Don’t Go Higher Than SPF 50+
It’s always best to keep the SPF choice between 15 and 50+. What matters most is choosing one that works with your skin coloration, how long you’ll be outside, and whether or not there’s shade to retreat to.
Avoid Vitamin A Formulations
Retinol or vitamin A is excellent for nighttime anti-aging routines. But it’s terrible for sun exposure. It can cause the skin to develop lesions faster so if you’re going to use vitamin A-infused products, don’t go anywhere near the sunshine.
Keep Away From Oxybenzone Too
This synthetic estrogen can disrupt your hormonal balance. Instead, you want to find sunscreens that contain zinc oxide, Mexoryl SX, or even 3% avobenzone, all of which stop damage from UVA rays.
Never Use Formulations With Insect Repellent
It might seem more convenient to use a sunscreen with insect repellent in the formulation, especially if you’re camping or by the lake, or even where mosquitoes tend to be prominent. The EWG strongly advises against this and recommends applying a separate bug repellent first before applying your sunscreen.
Never Use Spray Formulations Either
They might seem more convenient, but spraying on your sunscreen is one of the worst things you can do. Even with the best formulations, tiny particles get into the air which you then breathe in.
Now that you know more about what to look for, don’t forget to stock up on effective sunscreens. It’s important that you remember to apply it, ideally before ever venturing out into the sun, roughly 20 to 30 minutes before exposure. If not, it’s better late than never, though don’t forget to keep reapplying it every 80 minutes you’re in the sun.
Set an alert on your smartphone to help you remember during backyard bashes or beach days so you can be vigilant about your skincare. Damage from the sun’s rays can cause premature aging and skin cancer. Avoiding it by applying proper sunscreen will save you lots of hassle down the road and allow you to truly enjoy those carefree days in the sun!
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Jennifer Raskin is a freelance writer, wife and mom that loves cold weather despite her location in Florida, cooking, reading, watching ‘80s movies, weight-lifting, and wine tasting.