Spreading the word about skin cancer prevention is a major goal of Skin Cancer Awareness Month. And one of the best ways everyone can protect their skin from cancer and other forms of damage is by wearing sunscreen each and every day. If this sounds like overkill, consider that the sun’s ultraviolet radiation (UV rays), which account for the vast majority of skin cancer cases, reach us daily, even during the winter, cloudy days, and when we’re inside. Sunscreen creates a barrier that reflects these rays away from the skin.
But wearing just any sunscreen won’t guarantee your skin’s safety. Some products are objectively better than others, offering a thicker barrier, longer-lasting protection, and in some cases additional benefits to one’s skin. Today, the market is filled with great products at various price points to fit most people’s needs and budgets.
Let’s explore some of the most recent and promising sunscreen products currently available.
Before we dive into specific products, though, let’s go over the qualities that people care about andi make for a good sunscreen.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using sunscreens that are broad-spectrum (protective against UVA and UVB rays) and that offer a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. They also suggest using water-resistant products so the screen stays on even if you go swimming or sweat a lot.
Once these guidelines have been met, individuals may look for specific features in their sunscreen, such as how it’s applied (i.e. spray, stick, gel, cream), whether it’s a chemical (dissolves into skin) or physical (rests on the skin) screen, fragrant or odor-free, helps hydrate the skin, and more. Some will also keep the environment in mind, as certain ingredients in sunscreen products (such as Oxybenzone) may harm ecosystems.
We can’t go over every single quality sunscreen on the market today, but we’ve compiled a respectable list of products that meet a variety of needs and wants while all providing protection from sun damage.
Not only does this lotion sunscreen boast an extremely high SPF -- it’s also relatively affordable, water-resistant (for up to 80 minutes), and protective against UVA and UVB rays (broad spectrum). If you’re looking for a reliable sunscreen without the bells and whistles, Coppertone’s Ultra Guard SPF 70 fits the bill.
Aside from the brand name, this sun lotion is virtually identical to the one above, featuring the same specs, including water resistance, duration, and broad-spectrum protection at a lower price.
Some people prefer spray sunscreens for their quick and easy application. However, it’s important to apply these types of sunscreens at close range so the product sticks to the skin and doesn’t fly away into the air. With that caveat out of the way, Trader Joe’s Spray SPF 50+ is a great affordable product, offering broad-spectrum protection, water resistance for up to 80 minutes, and even skin-nourishing ingredients like aloe and Vitamin E.
This product is comparable to Trader Joe’s spray sunscreen, though it offers an even higher SPF of 70. It’s also oil-free so those with naturally oily skin might prefer this option.
If you’re trying to prevent sun damaged skin, you could do worse than to apply this sun lotion to your skin every day. Recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation, the Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Ultra Radiance Lotion guards against UVA and UVB rays while simultaneously nourishing the skin with Vitamins C and E, mango fruit extract, and shea butter. This product also has a topical fragrance for those who enjoy such scents.
The same company also offers a spray sunscreen with similar features but a lower (but passable) SPF. This sweat-resistant spray is specifically designed for active use.
While it’s on the pricier end, this sunscreen is more than just your average sunscreen. In addition to providing broad-spectrum SPF 30 protection, the Physical Defense is rich with mushroom and green tea extracts to reduce inflammation and redness and help the skin naturally heal.
Another more expensive choice, Shiseido’s lotion leaves no visible trace and employs its proprietary WetForce and HeatForce technologies, which strengthen the screen’s effects when exposed to more water/sweat and higher temperatures.
This sunscreen is in part a sort of tinted makeup, giving the skin a healthy glow while locking in moisture and, of course, protecting against the sun’s harmful rays.
This Vitamin C-infused product does more than provide skin care for sun damage -- it’s good for the skin in general. Its formula helps to brighten up the skin and smooth out unevenness.
Last but not least, this sunscreen hydrates the skin while shielding it from UV radiation, thanks to its formula rich with ingredients like water lily and squalane.
As mentioned earlier, the list goes on. That said, there should be a product here for just about every type of person and skin type. As the weather gets warmer and we begin to spend more time outdoors, we have to stay aware of the many skin cancer risk factors that face us -- especially the sun’s rays.
Premier Dermatology Partners can give you even more recommendations on sunscreen products and help you find one right for your skin. To learn more about our providers and all the services we offer, contact us today.