Aside from staying out of the sun altogether, picking and using an SPF when you go outside is one of the best defenses for keeping your skin safe from sun exposure. Even just a few sunburns can significantly increase your chances of developing skin cancer as you age, but fortunately, prevention is a great tool to keep yourself safe.

To help you understand what is important to look for when choosing a sunscreen, your AFC Urgent Care Indian Trail team has some helpful tips.

How Does Sunscreen Work?

There are two different types of sunscreen on the market that work in different ways.

Chemical sunscreen, the most common kind, has chemicals in the formula that absorb the UV rays before they are able to cause damage to your skin. Mineral sunscreens are growing in popularity due to being a more natural option, and these contains small mineral particles that sit atop your skin and prevent UV rays from penetrating.

How to Use Sunscreen

  • Apply it at least 15 minutes before heading outside.
  • Use sunscreen on all exposed skin, including scalp, ears and lips.
  • Apply sunscreen even when it is cloudy.
  • Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours while outside.
  • If swimming or sweating, reapply more often.

What Does the SPF of Sunscreen Mean?

SPF is short for sun protection factor, which measures how well the sunscreen defends against UV rays and how long it takes to burn after applying it.

Experts suggest sunscreens should contain at least SPF 30, and have found that SPF ratings above 50 apply a minuscule amount of extra sun protection. How you apply the sunscreen is really important, so be sure you’re applying enough sunscreen to cover all exposed skin.

Forms Sunscreen Come In

  • Creams
  • Sprays
  • Sticks
  • Gels
  • Lotions

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