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Sharp Health News

Which is the best sunscreen for you? (infographic)

July 12, 2016

Lotion, gel, spray, powder — each type of sunscreen protects your skin. But how do you choose the sunscreen that works best for your skin type and lifestyle? Dr. Jeffrey Melancon, dermatologist at Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Center, explains the benefits of each so you can choose the one that's right for you.

Which is the best sunscreen for you? Protecting your skin with an SPF of 30 or higher is a must, but which type of sunscreen is best for your skin type? Learn how to choose the best sunscreen for you. Do you have sensitive, dry skin and are you active in swimming or outdoor sports? If so, you should wear a water-resistant sunscreen lotion or sunscreen gel. Water-resistant sunscreen lotions tend to be more hydrating, so this is a great choice if you have dry skin. Gels are the best choice if you are athletic, as they stick with you when you move and sweat. Those with sensitive, dry skin who do not swim or participate in outdoor sports can choose a spray sunscreen. Spray sunscreens are easy to apply and provide even coverage. Spray and hold it for about six seconds over each area of the body being covered. If you have sensitive, but not dry, skin, then a water-resistant sunscreen lotion is a good choice. That is, unless you have a lot of body hair, which means a spray sunscreen will work best for you. Don’t have sensitive skin, but do have oily skin and are prone to acne? You should choose a powder sunscreen. Powder sunscreen creates a physical block over your skin – shielding it from UV rays – and won’t clog pores the way that liquid sunscreens do. If your skin is oily, but acne isn’t a concern, a spray sunscreen will work. Others with skin that is neither sensitive nor oily should use a spray sunscreen if you are over the age of 65 or a water-resistant sunscreen lotion if you are under 65. It is important to remember to not use spray or powder sunscreen on young children. Spray sunscreen should only be used in a well-ventilated area. Avoid applying spray or powder sunscreen around the face. Do not inhale – hold your breath when applying these sunscreens. It should also be noted that sunscreen is not a substitute for other forms of sun protection. Remember to read the fine print – check to ensure the following are stated on the label of your sunscreen. “Broad spectrum” indicates that the sunscreen protects from both UVA and UVB rays. Sun protection factor (SPF) rates the effectiveness of your sunscreen in blocking UV rays. Make sure your sunscreen’s label notes an SPF of 30 or higher. “Water-resistant” lets you know that the sunscreen protects for 40 to 80 minutes, depending on the product’s strength. “When choosing a type of sunscreen, find a product that you will want to apply to your skin on a daily basis,” says Dr. Jeffrey Melacon, a dermatologist with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group. “Remember, sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours or after sweating or water exposure.”

View the printable version of this infographic.

For the media: To talk with a Sharp doctor about sun safety, contact Erica Carlson, senior public relations specialist, at erica.carlson@sharp.com.

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