Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer combined. According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, a person’s risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns. That is why it is so important to wear sunscreen. By wearing SPF 15 or higher when you are outside, you reduce the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by 40% and the risk of developing melanoma by 50%.
Choosing the Best Sunscreen
There are a lot of myths and questions when it comes to sunscreen options and ingredients. Below are the best tips for choosing sunscreen based on recommendations from The Skin Cancer Foundation, The American Cancer Society and EWG’s 2017 Guide To Sunscreens.
- Don’t Assume Higher SPF is Better: High-SPF sunscreens are made with higher concentrations of chemicals and some of these ingredients penetrating the skin in high doses may pose health risks, including tissue damage and hormone disruption. Sunscreen with values of 30-50 SPF will offer adequate sunburn protection if applied correctly, even for people most susceptible to sunburn.
- Avoid Vitamin A: A form of Vitamin A contained in sunscreens, retinyl palmitate, may actually speed up the development of skin tumors and lesions when applied to the skin exposed to direct sunlight.
- Look for Mineral Sunscreens: Mineral sunscreens are made with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.These types of sunscreens rank higher in safety than chemical based sunscreens and are more stable in sunlight.
- Look for Fragrance Free: Fragrance free sunscreens contain less chemicals and are more gentle on the skin.
- Inactive Ingredients: Avoid sunscreens that list “methylisothiazolinone” as an inactive ingredient or preservative. It is a skin sensitizer or allergen , and has been linked to causing severe skin allergies, especially in children exposed to the ingredient.
Click here for a list of the best scoring sunscreens!