Whether you’re spending a week on the beach soaking in the sun, or going for a bike ride in the afternoon, sunscreen should be your constant companion this summer season. It doesn’t matter what your age, gender, or skin tone is – you can develop skin cancer.
What Does Sunscreen Block, Again?
“Broad-spectrum” sunscreen should be what you pick up when you’re at the store, because it blocks both UVA and UVB rays from penetrating your skin. Despite sounding similar, they are pretty different. UVB rays are what burn your skin when you’re outside for too long, and they are often blocked by window glass, the glass in your car, etc.
UVA rays, however, are what will cause wrinkles, prematurely age your skin, or contribute to those ‘age spots’ many older folks have. UVA rays are not blocked by the average window, and even when you are inside your car or home will damage your skin.
Broad-spectrum will help reduce burning from UVB rays and help the premature aging that comes along with UVA rays. While wearing sunscreen doesn’t guarantee that you will never burn or develop skin cancer, it can help prevent and slow these processes.
So What Are the Best Sunscreens?
Consumer Reports released the top sunscreens for 2019, and we are all about them.
The top two best lotion sunscreens this year are La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-In Sunscreen Milk and Bullfrog Land Sport Quik Gel. These two sunscreens come at a very different price point, with La Roche-Posay Anthelios costing upwards of $36 for 5 ounces, and Bullfrog being as low as $13 for the same amount.
The top two spray sunscreens are Banana Boat SunComfort Clean UltraMist Spray and, surprisingly enough, Trader Joe’s Spray. Both are generally less than $10/container and both ranked high on Consumer Report’s coverage and use analysis. However, be careful with spray sunscreens! While you can get good coverage with a spray sunscreen, many people end up either getting more in the air than on themselves, or inhaling a good portion of what they are spraying which can irritate the lungs. Careful, thorough application is very important when it comes to spray sunscreens.
How Do I Choose?
Making the choice on what sunscreen is right for you isn’t as easy as reading an article and picking, no matter how nice that would be.
The first decision is going to be whether you want a traditional lotion sunscreen, or prefer a spray. After you have made that decision, the best thing to do is buy one and test it. How does it feel on your skin? Do you like the scent? Is it greasy or oily, or do you not even notice it after it sinks in?
There are literally hundreds of sunscreens on the market, but they are not all created equal. Your skin is an organ, and protecting it is incredibly important to your health. Don’t be caught by surprise at the dermatologist in five years – protect yourself now.