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July 2011
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The Sunscreen Dilemma
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The Sunscreen Dilemma
Tips for choosing and using the best sunscreen.

Getting sunburned can be the fastest way to ruin a beach trip and the fastest way to jeopardize the health and beauty of your skin, but you may not always know the best way to protect yourself. Many people question if they are using sunscreen properly and which type is the best to buy. The answers to these questions will help you stay safe while still enjoying fun in the sun. 
You may be wondering how the new spray-style of sunscreen stacks up against classic lotion. The Mayo Clinic dismisses any benefits of a particular application style, stating that the ingredients are what really matter. Choose whichever type you are most likely to use frequently and you will be setting yourself up for success. One thing to note is that you should be careful not to inhale while using powders or sprays.
There have been many confusing rumors circulating the past few years about certain sunscreens being unsafe, and others falling short of their claims. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) released the fifth annual guide to sunscreen this year, helping you choose based on safety and effectiveness. 
They recommend purchasing sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and avoiding chemical sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate; the former is an endocrine disruptor and the latter has been linked to increased cancer risk. The EWG suggests that mineral sunscreens are currently considered to be safer overall. They list their recommendations at:
Just as there are ingredients to avoid, there are others to seek out. Prevention magazine writer Karyn Repinski suggests purchasing sunscreens containing Mexoryl and zinc oxide, which are great at blocking UVA rays. Avobenzone is another desirable ingredient, but it must be paired with stabilizers to keep it working when exposed to the sun. There are currently sunscreens made with a manufactured, stable form of Avobenzone called Helioplex that offer lasting protection.
Choosing the right sunscreen is half the battle, using it properly is the other half. The Mayo Clinic ( lays out the guidelines for proper sunscreen use, stating that it should be applied 30 minutes before sun exposure and every two hours thereafter. You will need to reapply more often if you are in the water, as no sunscreen is truly waterproof. Those labeled water resistant can maintain their SPF for around 40 minutes of water exposure, but can easily be wiped away when drying off. Most important, don’t forget to slather on the protection on shady days, as the sun’s rays can penetrate the clouds. 
Many makeup items tout that they contain SPF 15 or 30 on the label, but unfortunately, a thin layer of foundation is not adequate to protect your precious face from wrinkle- and cancer-causing UV rays. Consider it merely an extra boost to your sun protection regimen. One double-duty product that lives up to its promise is moisturizer with SPF 30. This is designed to dry without shine, sit smoothly under makeup and not cause breakouts. Some even have anti-aging ingredients to fight existing sun damage while protecting you from new damage.  
In an interview with WebMD, Dermatologist Dr. Andrea Cambio states that one severe sunburn in childhood can double a child’s risk of melanoma later in life. Make sure to use these tips to protect yourself and your family, so you can healthfully enjoy the outdoors this year and for many more summers to come.


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