Do: Check the ingredients
The Environmental Working Group, a long-standing non-profit consumer information organization, has recently put out its updated Sunscreen Guide. It’s a comprehensive piece of work, featuring effectiveness ratings of 1700 sunscreens, information about sun exposure and skin cancer and a detailed breakdown of what we should and shouldn’t be looking for in a sunscreen. No time to read it before hitting the beach? Bookmark these key points instead:
Make sure you always read the ingredients list before buying a new sunscreen. Do look for the ingredients zinc, titanium dioxide, avenobenzone and Mexoryl SX, all of which are powerful UVA blockers that remain on the surface of the skin instead of absorbing into the body. Don’t choose a product that includes ingredients that may affect hormones and/or are potentially carcinogenic, such as insect repellent, oxybenzone and vitamin A (retinyl palmitate). Make sure to try these specific sunscreens that dermatologists use on themselves.
Don’t: Be fooled by high SPF sunscreens
Don’t waste your money on sunscreens claiming an SPF higher than 50. According to the FDA, there’s no evidence such products provide better protection against harmful rays—and they may actually make us feel overconfident and less likely to reapply. Make sure you do opt for SPF 15-30+ daily. If you plan to be outdoors for an extended period of time, slather on the 30+. Avoid these common sunscreen mistakes that most people make.