Selecting the Best Sunscreen to Prevent Skin Cancer

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Approximately 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every day at an annual cost of around 8.1 billion. This is very striking considering that most skin cancers could have been avoided with proper skin care and protection. 

Skin cancer is most often from sun exposure. UV rays alter skin cells and cause them to become cancerous over time.  Sun damage leads to premature aging, discolorations as well.

So, how do you protect yourself?

The easiest prevention is to limit sun exposure to the skin. This doesn’t mean to close yourself indoors and avoid all skin rays. Several systems in the body require some UV rays to operate properly.  Vitamin D in the body depends on it. 

Oxybenzone or benzophenone-3 are the most common allergens. If you have sensitive skin or will be doing an activity where you are sweating, it is best to find sunscreens without these.

American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology

Covering the skin or blocking the rays is the most effective way to get some but not too much UV light. Applying a good broad-spectrum sunscreen that is at least SPF 30 is the most common way to protect yourself. Most people are aware of this and apply the first round.

Unfortunately, where we fall short is the reapplication after the recommended time. Sunscreens are all labeled with the proper reapplication times. Another way to protect skin is to where sun protective clothing and hats when you are going to be outside for extended periods.  Don’t forget that sunburns and damage can occur even when it is cloudy!

Applying sunscreen sounds so easy to prevent so much cancer but then you go to the store and see the rows and rows. What is the best sunscreen?  Well, lets start simple.  

As we said before, it should be broad spectrum and at least SPF 30. The next factor is any allergies you may have. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI), oxybenzone or benzophenone-3 are the most common allergens. If you have sensitive skin or will be doing an activity where you are sweating, it is best to find sunscreens without these.

The mineral sunscreens, or sunscreens with zinc and titanium oxide tend to cause the least allergies but are much thicker to apply. 

Another factor is how effective is the sunscreen. Spray-on sunscreens are the least effective and need the most frequent reapplications. It is often not applied in the right amount or correctly. Zinc oxide and titanium sunscreens, on the other hand, are the most effective and last longer. It should be noted that if you are swimming, running, or any activity causing a lot of sweating, you should reapply sunscreen more often. 

Now we know what we need but the isle is full of choices. What brands do dermatologists really recommend? For faces, here are the top two:  

CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen is the number one, affordable dermatologist recommended sunscreen. This one is a personal favorite of mine. It does feel thick on your fingers but absorbs very quickly!

Next is SunBum Clear Zinc.  It is hypoallergenic and water resistant but also absorbs quickly. 

What about full body protection? Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch is one of the most highly recommended sunscreens. It goes on smooth, absorbs fast, and is hypoallergenic. It is also very affordable and available at any big box store, grocery store, etc.

Aveeno Protect and Hydrate is another highly recommended sunscreen that was made by a dermatologist. It is oil free and safe, even for people with eczema. This one is also available at most big box stores and inexpensive.

Last but definitely not least, Blue Lizard Sunscreen. Our staff recommends this one and so do dermatologists. Good on sensitive skin, kids, and adults and easy to find online. As a bonus it is all natural and affordable!

Obviously, there are many more and Amaze is happy to help with skin care tips, sun protection tips, and finding the best sunscreen for your needs. Get outside, have fun, enjoy the warming weather but don’t forget to protect your skin!