It’s the time of year for fun in the sun, and that means it’s time to pick up some sunscreen for the arriving pool, beach, lake and general outdoor fun season.
So – do you head out and buy the fancy EV Princess Protection Sunblock, SPF 100 – two ounces for $42.99 (no, I’m not kidding), or head out to the drug store and pick up three eight-ounce bottles of Banana Boat SPF 30 for $10.67?
The experts at Consumer Reports tested 22 different sprays, lotions and creams that claim to protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Their results show you can spend very little to get great sun protection.
Target’s Up & Up Sport Sunscreen Continuous Spray SPF 30 was named a best buy for receiving top marks for effectiveness and price. Two additional brands were also ranked as best buys:
- No-Ad with Aloe and Vitamin E SPF 45
- Equate Baby SPF 50
It’s also important to remember that sunscreen isn’t the only method you can use to stay safe in the sun.
The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention (NCSCP) reminds everyone to “slip, slop, slap and wrap” for skin protection.
- Slip on a shirt.
- Slop on sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher).
- Slap on a hat.
- Wrap on sunglasses.
This year, skin cancer diagnoses will affect more people than breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers combined. Reduce your risk this weekend and throughout the summer with these additional NCSCP tips:
- Do Not Burn – overexposure to the sun is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer.
- Avoid Sun Tanning and Tanning Beds – we know many people still think a little tan gives you a “healthy glow,” but use caution. Ultraviolet (UV) light from tanning beds and the sun causes skin cancer and wrinkling. If you “must have” that glow, get it from a sunless self-tanning product.
- Cover Up – wear a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses when and where possible.
- Seek Shade/Use Umbrellas – if you feel like you’re getting too much sun, you’re probably right. Remember the sun’s UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Generously Apply Sunscreen – you’ll need to use more than you think. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a full ounce – enough to fill a shot glass – to cover the exposed areas of your body properly. Be sure to put it on 15 to 30 minutes before you go outside, and when you go make sure you take enough with you to reapply every two hours.
- Use Extra Caution Near Water, Snow and Sand – these surfaces reflect the damaging rays of the sun and can increase your chance of sunburn.
- Check the UV Index – the National Weather Service and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed this index to show the strength of UV rays on a scale of 1 (low) to 11+ (extremely high). Check the UV Index for your area and plan accordingly.
- Get Vitamin D Safely – don’t rely on the sun for vitamin D. Get it through your diet through foods like fish, eggs, milk, cereals, orange juice and many vegetables.