How to choose a sunscreen?

Burt Steffes
Agnesian HealthCare Sunscreen Sample

Sunscreens protect the skin. They play an important role in blocking the absorption of ultraviolet (UV) radiation by the skin. UV radiation damages the skin and can lead to sunburns and skin cancer. However, no sunscreen blocks UV radiation 100 percent. Sunscreens extend the length of time you can be outdoors before your skin begins to redden, but they don’t give you total protection. Using sunscreen doesn’t mean you can stay out in the sun indefinitely, since damage to the skin cells is still occurring.

To protect your skin, here are some tips to keep in mind as you venture outdoors.

  • Sunscreen can expire due to instability of the chemicals used to make the product. The only way to know is by the expiration date that is listed on the bottle. In general, most sunscreens will expire one to two years after the date of purchase.
  • Lotions and sprays can both be effective if used properly. Always apply liberally 15 to 20 minutes before going outside and then every two hours you are outside. With spray sunscreens, it is important to rub on after application to ensure even coverage. The most common mistake is not apply enough sunscreen.
  • All sunscreens are better than no sunscreen but the best sunscreens use zinc as their active ingredient.  Zinc blocks against the largest spectrum of UVA and UVB, providing better coverage. These can be found at Agnesian Pharmacy and Prescription Center locations.
  • Sunscreens should be SPF 30 or higher. There is only benefit from using higher SPF numbers.
The physicians at Agnesian Dermatology and Skin Care Services are happy to meet with you to discuss your specific summertime skin questions and concerns. To schedule a consultation, call our offices at (920) 926-8722.

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