The best protection from the sun is to stay out of it. But there are ways to protect yourself when you can’t avoid exposure. Sunscreens must be part of your daily regimen. They’re available under a bevy of cosmetic labels and offered in the form of lotions, creams, gels, sprays and oils. A good sunscreen absorbs and/or blocks ultraviolet rays; make sure the one you choose is effective against both UVB and UVA. (Look for the ingredients parsol 1789 or zinc oxide.) Scientists used to believe that it was only.
UVB rays that caused skin cancer, but they now know that UVA rays are, in fact, more dangerous. At present, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has mandated only that sunscreens protect against UVB rays, but experts say that in the near future, the FDA will require protection against UVA as well.
When choosing a sunscreen or sunblock you’ll notice an SPF (sun protection factor) number. The SPF indicates the amount of exposure your skin can handle from UVB rays before turning red. Dermatologists recommend an SPF of at least 15 for all skin types. To figure out how long it will take you to develop sunburn, multiply the SPF number by 10; for example, with SPF 15 you should be able to stay outside for 150 minutes before burning, you would want to find a water resistant sunscreen that is natural & reef friendly!
Even with a protective sunscreen, you need to use common sense about how long you stay in the sun. Improved sunscreens have encouraged people to stay out in the sun for greater periods of time, but dermatologists stress that no matter what strength sunscreen you use, you’ll still get some exposure. And if the product you’ve selected has only UVB protection, you’re at risk for the most serious kinds of skin damage, including skin cancer. In fact, in recent years there seems to have been an increased incidence of skin cancers; doctors theorize it’s because more people are using UVB protection only and remaining in the sun longer.