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Fun in the sun should always include sun protection, and at the top of that list is sunscreen. With hundreds of sunscreen brands available, it may be difficult to know what to look for when shopping. Before heading off to celebrate the unofficial start to summer, Dr. Mark P. Seraly, MD, chief medical officer for DermatologistOnCall, one of the largest teledermatology networks in the U.S., has compiled a few purchasing tips to help navigate the sunscreen aisle.
Look for "broad spectrum" coverage. You want a sunscreen that protects you from UVA and UVB rays, and contains a minimum of SPF 15.
Don't be fooled by the numbers. An SPF (sun protection factor) of 15 means it blocks 93 percent of UVB rays. SPF 30 blocks 97 percent of UVB rays, while SPF 50 blocks 98 percent of UVB rays. Double the number DOES NOT mean double the protection.
Water resistant is not waterproof. Water resistant means the SPF level stays effective after 40 minutes in water. Very water resistant means the sunscreen will stay effective after 80 minutes in water.
People with skin sensitivity should look for sunscreen designed for children.
Oily or acne-prone skin? Look for water-based sunscreen.
"One in five Americans will get skin cancer during their lifetime, so it's critical to not only protect yourself from the sun's rays, but also be aware of any changes to your skin," explains Seraly. "All suspicious spots, non-healing lesions or changing moles should be check by a dermatologist."
DermatologistOnCall is offering $5 off (with promo code SKINCHECK17) an online visit with a board-certified dermatologist the month of May. To activate an account, visit http://www.DermatologistOnCall.com/SpotCheck17.