Best Sunscreen Choice – Spray, Stick or Lotion?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012 8:54 AM

SunscreenWhen you plan to be out in the sun for an extended period of time (or even a short while), wearing some form of sun protection is better than nothing. But, with all the options on the market today, how do you know which sunscreen is best for complete sun protection?

Reshma Haugen, MD, Dermatologist at NorthShore, talks about the different types of sunscreen and offers suggestions on which are better than others:

  • Select a sunscreen that works best for you. Spray, stick and lotion sunscreens can all be equally effective, if used correctly. Be sure to read the directions on how to best apply. You’ll also want to make sure you apply sunscreen to all areas of the skin. Some find it easier to do this with lotions, while others prefer the spray. If you are using a spray sunscreen, it’s best to apply a thin layer that you can then rub in with your hands.
  • Choose a sunscreen that offers Broad Spectrum (both UVA and UVB) protection. This choice will help reduce the risk of skin cancer and help prevent early skin aging.
  • Pay attention to the numbers. Sunscreen SPFs (sunscreen protection factor) range from 4 to 100.  A sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher is recommended.  A sunscreen with an SPF value between 4 and 14 can only help prevent sunburn, but not necessarily reduce the risk of skin cancer.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours. While it’s important to select a sunscreen that is water resistant, it’s also important to realize that you will still need to reapply.

What type of sunscreen do you prefer to use? Do you use sunscreen every time you are outside in the sun?

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