How Do You Choose, Use Best Sunscreen? 7-07-2010 - WNEM TV 5

How Do You Choose, Use Best Sunscreen? 7-07-2010

SAGINAW, Mich.Many people don't think seriously about sunscreen -- or the possible consequences of not wearing any -- until they find a spot that shouldn't be there or see someone go through a bout of cancer treatment.
Finding The Right Product:
"What many people do not know is that the SPF of a sunscreen is only a measure of its UVB protection. Proper sunscreen must take into consideration the UVA coverage as well," said Dr. Peter Kopelson, a dermatologist and owner of the Kopelson Clinic in Beverly Hills, Calif.
He said consumers should look for sunscreen that contains one of the following UVA blockers: avobenzone (also called Parsol 1789), mexoryl, titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.
"I like titanium and zinc oxide because they filter UVA and UVB and act instantly. The downside is that they can be opaque, and people don't like their appearance," said Dr. Kenneth Beer, a dermatologist in West Palm Beach, Fla., and author of "Palm Beach Perfect Skin."
Avobenzone can be irritating to the skin and eyes, so people with sensitive skin should carefully read the product's list of ingredients, said Dr. Omeed Memar, medical director at the Academic Dermatology and Skin Cancer Institute in Chicago.
Of all the UVA blockers, Mexoryl is the newest compound that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration, Memar said. It is available in the United States by L'Oreal with an SPF 20; European products with mexoryl have much higher SPFs.
Gawel has been using a Lubriderm lotion with SPF 15, but he's thinking of switching brands after another skin cancer patient recommended Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen SPF 30, which is a little more expensive but ranks highly in online consumer reviews.
"Blue Lizard is a great product, especially ideal for those with sensitive skin," Memar said. "It contains zinc oxide, which is a physical block to the sun's harmful rays and is known to be less irritating to the skin."
What Is SPF?:
SPF stands for sun protection factor. It measures the amount of light required to burn skin in the midday sun. A higher SPF product provides more protection than a lower SPF one; experts recommend a minimum of SPF 30 for children. However, these numbers have climbed in recent years, with sunblocks offering SPFs as high as 100 today.
It is important to realize that SPF is not the only indication of a sunscreen's ability to protect the skin. Broad-spectrum products are more effective because they guard against UV-A and UV-B rays, while other products are formulated to be water-resistant for fun in the ocean or pool.
Watch The SPF:
For people who make it outside for a small amount of time, a daily-wear product with SPF 30 is fine, Beer said.
He suggested that people who work outdoors or play outside for long amounts of time use a product with SPF 50 and UVA protection and be sure to apply it to any skin that will be exposed to the sun, including the back, arms, legs and neck.
Memar said his favorite sunscreen is Citrix SPF 30, which is a combination of zinc oxide, avobenzone, green tea extract and coenzyme Q-10.
"Green tea extract is being shown to protect skin from skin cancer formation, and coenzyme Q-10 is one of the first antioxidants depleted after sun exposure, and replenishing the skin with it can give added protection," Memar said.
Find What Works For You:
Beer said sunscreen products from Clinique, Neutrogena, Solbar, Anthelios, Minusol and SkinCeuticals are wonderful.
He said the real issue is finding one you will use daily, and that may take some experimenting.
"If a product is great but is not applied because it is too greasy or the person gets a rash from it, it is irrelevant for that individual. My recommendation for consumers is to try a few brands and see which one they like," Beer said.
When To Slather:
Whatever product you choose, be sure to apply it 20 to 30 minutes prior to being in the sun, because the chemical ingredients need time to activate. And once you're outside, reapply sunscreen on a regular basis.
"When you are in direct sun, you must reapply every two hours. However, if you are sweating or swimming, then you need to reapply on a more frequent basis," Memar said.
And don't be stingy with the sunscreen.
"More is better, so slather it on," Beer said.
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