A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Dermatology, showed that most people have difficulty picking the right sunscreen. The study consisted of 114 participants and fewer than half could correctly identify how well a sunscreen protected sunburn, premature aging and skin cancer. Researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago conducted the study and found only 49& of participants surveyed knew what "SPF" stood for. Just in case you don't, it means "sun protection factor."
This could stem from the look of sunscreen labels changing as of 2012. Sunscreen manufacturers used to be required to display only the SPF rating. Most participants understood that the higher the SPF the more protection you received but many are still confused around the protection against UVA rays that cause photoaging (premature aging of the skin) and also lead to skin cancer. Only 29% of those who participated in the study understood this notion.
We've all seen the all-natural section of the sunscreen aisle. But many people wonder if these sunscreens are full of natural ingredients, can it really protect us from the harsh rays of the sun?
Experts recommend reapplying sunscreen every 2 hours because we sweat, we swim and sunscreen just plain wears off. Some people have expressed that all-natural sunscreens make them feel like they're not wearing anything at all. The sole active ingredient often in these products is zinc oxide which is the Environmental Working Group first choice for sun protection. This is one of the only ingredients that physically blocks the UVA and UVB rays.
This ingredient among some of the others in all-natural sunscreens also help with allergic reactions and sensitive skin that some people suffer from with regular synthetic sunscreen products.
We all love these extra hours of sun, but it is important that we stay safe and properly protect our skin. Many of us believe that spraying on some sunscreen is enough, but this is part of a list of common mistakes we should avoid. Over 2 million Americans are diagnosed each year with skin cancer, and many of these cases are linked to harmful sun exposure that could have been prevented.
Part of the issue is inherent in the sunscreen that is available in the United States. Unfortunately, compared to European markets, sunscreens available to Americans are less effective and outdated.
QUICK SUNSCREEN AND SUN PROTECTION TIPS
- Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after every dunk in the pool or ocean.
- Limit your exposure to the sun, especially during the middle of the day, when the sun’s rays are strongest.
- If you have to be outside midday, find some shade, like an umbrella or a tree.
- Cover up with long sleeves, pants, a hat and sunglasses whenever possible.