What You Need to Know About Sunscreens This Summer

HEALTHY LIVING  |  6.22.18  |  by Terra Wellington

There’s more sunscreens to choose from than ever before.  But, also, there’s more research and information on how they work, their chemicals, and which ones are more effective.  In this SMG article, we point you toward the newest research and sunscreen lists to protect your family from the sun.

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Choose a Higher SPF

According to the newest research from the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, higher SPF’s are better.  In fact, in a recent study the researchers found that SPF 100+ was significantly better than SPF 50+.

SPF 100+ sunscreen was significantly more effective in protecting against sunburn than SPF 50+ sunscreen in actual use conditions.

Now, just because you find a sunscreen with high SPF, that doesn’t mean you should stay out in the sun longer.  The FDA has been concerned that high SPF’s encourage people to spend more time in the sun, and therefore still get sunburned.  It’s better to still restrict sun time, and follow the below tips as well — just know that you might be getting added protection with the higher SPF.

Use Common-Sense Sunscreens

These aren’t the sprays or liquids.  We’re talking wearing clothes and hat that cover the skin.  Use an umbrella when walking or out at play.  Find shade from a building or tree.  And make sure you and the little ones wear sunglasses.  None of these require chemicals or sunscreens, just plain common sense.

Plan Around the Sun

Use your preferred weather app to check the UV index to avoid sunburn.   The mornings and late afternoons and early evenings still have sunshine but generally a low UV index — plan your outdoor time during these hours to lessen the chance of a sunburn.

Photo Courtesy: AccuWeather

Choose Sunscreens With Less Harmful Chemicals

Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a well-researched annual sunscreen guide that helps you find sunscreens that are less toxic and have more of the good stuff.  Here’s a list of the Best Scoring Kids Sunscreens from EWG’s 2018 guide.  You can get on the organization’s mailing list to be notified of the new guide every year.

In general, avoid any sunscreens with Vitamin A, oxybenzone, and octinoxate.

Ingredients with less toxicity include zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, and avobenzone.  European sunscreens are also better at blocking UVA rays.

A list of common sunscreen chemicals and their effects can be found here.

2018-06-22T17:55:41+00:00