Tips on which sunscreens to use this season to save your skin. While a golden tan may be considered attractive, it is actually a sign that your body is trying to defend itself from further damage to your cells’ DNA.

Do you love your sunscreen with all your heart? If not, you should! If you’re not sunscreen’s number one fan, I can definitely sympathize. Poor sunscreen gets such a bad rap, starting from when you were a kid and your mom is lathering you up with Coppertone while you’re struggling to break her iron grip so you can jump into the pool. While mom seemed pretty annoying back then, she was actually doing you a solid by making sure you were covered head to toe with protection from harmful UV rays.
Sunscreen chart
To fully appreciate mom’s efforts, we need to know a little more about what sunscreen does and how it protects you. Sunscreen is a defense against UV rays. UV (Ultraviolet) rays are beyond the visible spectrum of light, meaning they are invisible to the human eye. When UV rays hit your skin, cells called melanocytes produce melanin, the substance that gives the skin color, to cover and protect the cells in your body. When exposed to UV rays, cells can be damaged and destroyed. This can cause mutations that turn into cancer. So, while a golden tan may be considered attractive, it is actually a sign that your body is trying to defend itself from further damage to your cells’ DNA. Yikes!

Sunscreen provides defense to your little cells in two ways, blocking UV rays and absorbing UV rays. Sunscreens that contain ingredients like zinc oxide, provide a physical block. This means that the UV rays are prevented from ever reaching the skin’s cells because there is a physical barrier created by the ingredients. Sunscreens that contain the ingredient octylcrylene work by providing a chemical block from UV rays. They absorb the sun’s rays, so no damage is done to your cells. Sunscreen is so cool! Your skin cells definitely have a poster of sunscreen on their bedroom walls and you should too.

So, you might want to rethink your opinion of sunscreen. It’s not a hassle, it’s a hero! Before you call your mom and apologize for wiggling while she applied your UV protection years ago, check out these tips on how to select the best sunscreen for you:

  • Look for a sunscreen that provides both physical and chemical
    protection from UV rays. They will be labeled “broad spectrum.”
  • Try to find a sunscreen that contains Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide
  •  For acne prone skin, look for sun protection that is oil-free.
  •  For dry skin, look for sun protection that contains hydrating
    ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours.
  • No sunscreen is waterproof! Sunscreens are water-resistant for
    different amounts of time. Check the label of your sunscreen to find
    out how long it is water-resistant.
  • SPFs between 15 and 50 vary only very slightly in protection from
    UV rays.
  • Elta MD has an awesome variety of sun protection products that
    are effective and affordable!

Use these tips to snag a sunscreen that you’ll love! Your skin will thank you.