While most experts agree that you should use sunscreen throughout the year to prevent damage from the sun, harmful ultraviolet rays are strongest in late spring and early summer. We’ve partnered with health reporters from Wirecutter, The New York Times site that reviews and recommends products (and publishes an annual rating of sunscreen for face and body), to answer some of the most common questions for readers. Has about sunscreen, including how safe it is and how effective it is to use it properly, and how to choose the right one for you.
Is sunscreen bad for you?
No, in fact, it can reduce the potential damage from the sun, increasing the risk of premature skin aging and skin cancer. However, experts have acknowledged that some people may be concerned about previous evidence that has shown that some of the active ingredients in many sunscreens sold in the United States can reach the bloodstream and remain there for several days.
“We don’t yet know what the health effects are, or even if there are any,” said Dr. Jenna Lester, assistant professor of dermatology at UCSF School of Medicine, but we want to give credit to people’s concerns Huh. “
Keep in mind that sunscreen is one of many topical products whose potential health effects have not been fully understood. “Of course it is very dangerous when people think they are being absorbed by their skin and can be detected in the blood,” said Dr. Belinda Tan, a dermatologist in Torrance, California. But we put a lot of things on our skin – lotions, cosmetics, fragrances – and studies haven’t been done on whether those ingredients are detectable or not, so we need to step back and put the sunscreen conversation into context is. “
If you are concerned about the possibility of sunscreen chemicals leaking into the bloodstream, consider using those that have one or both of the active ingredients, both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, that have not reached the blood.
How much SPF is enough?
Is a measure of Sun Protection Factor (SPF) How well does sunscreen protect against sunburn, Which often results from exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, the type that causes most skin cancers. Most dermatologists, as well as the American Academy of Dermatology, recommend an SPF of at least 30 for most people and most climates. “However, there is nothing wrong with going up,” especially for those whose skin burns easily or has Allergies due to exposure to sunlight, Said dermatologist Dr. Vinod Namboodiri at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Once you get past SPF 30, the safety increases more than you think when looking at the numbers on the bottle. For example, when applied properly, an SPF 30 sunscreen protects the skin from about 97 percent of the sun’s UVB rays, while an SPF 50 protects against about 98 percent. No sunscreen blocks 100 percent of the sun’s rays.
Most of the experts we talked to said that more important than actual SPF is to find a broad spectrum sunscreen – one that protects against UVA rays (which mostly cause skin aging and wrinkles) and UVB rays – Which you enjoy wearing and can afford to be constantly used and reapplied. “Most people are not getting the benefit of SPF on the label of sunscreen because they are not applying enough thick layer on their skin, and they are not reapplying often enough – usually every 80 minutes or Two hours, depending on the formula, “Dr. Tan said.
The average adult needs about one ounce of sunscreen to cover all exposed skin. “We often call a shot glass of sunscreen for the whole body,” Dr. Lester said, “but I tell my patients to fill the shot glass completely and use even more if necessary so that you can use any Don’t miss the spots too. “
Is it safe to apply sunscreen every day?
Yes; In fact, it is recommended. “Whether sunny or cloudy, UV rays are present 365 days a year, and I encourage my patients to use sunscreen throughout the year,” Dr. Namboodiri said.
Although it is not necessary to apply sunscreen to parts of the body that are not exposed to the sun (usually because they are covered with clothing), it is important to apply it to the face, ears, hands, forearms, neck, and other exposed areas. To help prevent sun damage to body parts.
Which type of sunscreen is better: chemical or physical, and why?
The best sunscreen for you is one that you will apply (and reapply) often, but each type has its pros and cons. Physical (or mineral) sunscreens remove UV rays from your skin, while chemical ones absorb UV rays so that your skin does not.
A proponent of mineral sunscreens is that their active ingredients – zinc oxide and titanium dioxide – have not been shown to be absorbed into the blood. “If you are a person who is concerned about the potential safety of applying chemical sunscreen on your skin and you also want the benefit of protecting your skin from the harmful effects of UV rays, then I would say the mineral is the best,” Dr. Tan said.
Mineral sunscreens, however, are “generally more expensive and less cosmetically elegant than chemical ones,” said Dr. Lawrence Eichenfield, head of pediatrics and adolescent dermatology at Ready Children’s Hospital-San Diego. Mineral sunscreen takes longer to rub and appears chalkier than the chemical, which rubs easily, feels less noticeable and blends better with the skin.
“People who don’t like the way sunscreen looks or feels are less likely to stick to their frequent use,” Dr. Said Lester, whose work focuses on skin color-related disparities in research and health care. In her own practice, she said, “brown individuals often avoid mineral sunscreen because they leave a white cast on the skin.”
Wirecutter tests have found that chemical sunscreens with active ingredients, including avobenzone, octocrylene and oxybenzone, feel lighter on the skin, easier to rub, and less visible.
Does sunscreen harm coral reefs?
this. “Certain elements in some sunscreens contribute to coral reef damage,” Dr. Lester said.
Oxybenzone, octocrylene and octinoxate are among these Primary sunscreen content of concern. The only two “reef-safe” active ingredients approved by the Food and Drug Administration are “non-nanotized” zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. (A non-nanotized component means that it is 100 nanometers in diameter or more.)
However, no sunscreen is considered completely safe for aquatic life, so the best way to protect yourself and the environment is to cover your body with as much UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) clothing as possible ( However you will still need it) Use sunscreen on exposed skin).
Are there any sunscreen options?
Avoiding sunlight (especially between 10 am and 4 pm, when the sun’s rays are the strongest) is a great way to protect your skin from sun damage. So are wearing protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts and wide-edged hats. Options such as Sunscreen pills Or supplement “being studied right now,” dr. Namboodiri said, but none are approved by the FDA and there is no evidence that they are safe and effective.
What is the difference between sunscreen and sunblock?
While the two words are often meant to refer to the same thing in conversation, you should not see the word “sunblock” on the label at all. FDA banned its use On sunscreen approved in 2011, considering it a violation of effectiveness because no sunscreen can completely block UV rays. The agency similarly does not allow the words “waterproof” and “sweatproof”.
Do you need sunscreen if your skin is dark?
Yes. “It is a misconception that people with darker skin cannot get skin cancer,” said Dr. Namboodiri. Even though people with dark skin do not burn as quickly as those with fair skin, this does not mean that sun rays are not having harmful effects on their skin. “Sunburn, aging, uneven skin tone and hyperpigmentation are all problems that can be aggravated by exposure to the sun in people with dark skin,” Dr. Lester said.
Can I use sunscreen with makeup or moisturizer?
There is no real consensus on whether you should apply sunscreen before or after applying makeup, or apply skin care products such as moisturizers, but if you do foam with sunscreen first, make sure that it is completely done first. Has been absorbed by (it should feel mostly dry to the touch) you apply something else. Even if you are using foundations or powders with SPF, it is important to apply sunscreen, as these products may not provide protection from continuous sunlight.
Be sure to reapply sunscreen every two hours (or more often, especially after sweating or swimming), even if you have worn makeup. This may require re-applying sunscreen over it. There are plenty of options to reapply on-the-go sunscreen, including a sunscreen stick or spray (although you still need to rub them). You can also use a makeup sponge to apply your favorite sunscreen to a uniform layer above your makeup.
Kayra Blackwell contributed reporting.
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