RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - These days there are plenty of sunscreens to choose from. Lotions and creams, spray on and stick.
Before selecting which way to apply the sunscreen, look for the SPF, and if the product is broad spectrum.
“30 or above,” recommends Dr. Cindy Lamerson, board-certified dermatologist with the Nevada Center for Dermatology. “If you are 70 and it is the same price as the 30, you know if it makes you feel better that’s ok. And you want to make sure it is broad spectrum. UVA and UVB protection most of them are now.”
Dr. Lamerson says the boundaries of broad spectrum and SPF are established; find the sunscreen you like.
Chances are if it is easy to apply, it will be used more frequently.
For spray sunscreen she says apply three coats. This kind of sunscreen is popular as it can reach to places not easily accessible.
For cream or lotion type sunscreen she says a shot glass full of sunscreen is the minimum to apply on the body.
“All over your body,” she emphasizes.
Stick sunscreen is for lips, noses, ears--those places that may need extra attention.
Don’t forget the tops of feet which are often overlooked.
“Actually, we’ve had an increase in melanoma on feet and ankles,” says Dr. Lamerson. “So cover your toes, make sure you are getting your toes and your ankles. And a lot of times people will have that little area exposed when they are wearing sandals and they don’t realize it.”
She says sunscreens come in two forms. Physical barriers have zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. They block the sun’s rays. Chemical sunscreens have ingredients which absorb UV rays once they penetrate the skin.
“Now the physical sunscreen you can apply, and they are good to go,” says Dr. Lamerson. “But the chemical sunscreens need 15 or thirty minutes in order for them to get into the skin.”
And if sunscreen is left over from last year, throw it out.
Even if it hasn’t expired, chances are it may have even been exposed to heat or cold which means the active ingredients have broken down, and the product won’t adequately protect you from the sun.