Coppertone Water Babies SPF 50 sunscreen (About $8.99 at retailers including Target and Wal-Mart)(Kate P. Kuo)
Ocean Potion Protect & Nourish Sport Cooling Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30 (about $4.99 at drugstore.com and other retailers)()
Neutrogena Beach Defense Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 30 (About $7.99 at Target and other retailers)()
La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Daily Tone Correcting Primer and La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-in Sunscreen Milk ($35.99, $39.99, LaRoche-Posay.us)(La Roche-Posay)
With the unofficial start of summer comes the deep dive into outdoor, exposed-in-the-sun activities synonymous with Southern California living.
But all of that extra time at the beach, road-tripping, hiking, volleyball playing, barbecuing or even just driving around when it’s so crazy hot and sunny outside comes at a price, including burned skin, accelerated aging and even cancer.
Yet Americans aren’t getting the memo and taking action to protect themselves, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Only 14.3% of men and 29.9% of women reportedly regularly use sunscreen on their face and other exposed skin.
“We are more susceptible to melanoma in L.A. because we have more chances of sunburns thanks to our year-round amazing weather and beach culture,” says Beverly Hills dermatologist and facial plastic surgeon Dr. Ronald Moy, former co-chief of the UCLA division of dermatology.
Experts share seven sunscreen tips to help keep you safe this Memorial Day weekend, and beyond:
1. AVOID THE SUN AT ITS PEAK
This one is obvious, but bears repeating: Limit your time in the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when rays are at their most intense.
2. LOTION IS NOT ENOUGH
Wear UV protection sunglasses, broad-brimmed hats and protective clothing including Ultraviolet Protection Factor (particularly UPF 30+) clothing. “People who wear just sunscreen get more burned than someone also wearing a hat or other clothing,” says Sonya Lunder, senior analyst for the Environmental Working Group.
3. SLATHER IT ON
Apply about a shotglass full of sunscreen “every two hours,” says Beverly Hills dermatologist Dr. Zein Obagi. “Every time you sweat it out you have to apply it again.” And in case you are wondering: All skin colors need sun protection.
4. READ THE LABEL
Look for a "broad spectrum” sunscreen, which will protect you from both UVB and UVA rays. "UVB rays are the chief cause of sunburn and skin inflammation,” says Moy. "UVA rays play a major role in skin aging and wrinkling. Both UVB and UVA rays can cause gene mutations and skin cancer.”
5. RETHINK SPRAYS & TOWELETTES
“Sprays and towelettes may not give uniform adequate protection,” says Moy. “Traditional sunscreen cream is the best way to ensure maximum protection.”
6. OH BABY
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not exposing babies under 6 months to sun. If unavoidable, apply an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen.
7. ARE SUPER-HIGH SPFS WORTH IT?
“Just for context, SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30 blocks 97% and SPF 50 blocks 98%,” says Moy. SPF 15 or higher is recommended.
EIGHT TOP SUNSCREENS
There are conflicting opinions about some sunscreen ingredients. (For example, safety flags have been raised about retinyl palmitate and oxybenzone, ingredients commonly found in some sunscreens, so be sure to scrutinize labels.)
For guidance, we turned in part to the Environmental Working Group, the nonprofit organization that each year releases a lengthy list of its top picks for healthy sunscreens, as well as Consumer Reports recommendations.
Here are eight that hit a variety of price points:
California Baby Summer Blend Sunscreen SPF 30 ($19.99, californiababy.com)
Coppertone Water Babies SPF 50 sunscreen (About $8.99 at retailers including Target and Wal-Mart)
Ocean Potion Protect & Nourish Sport Cooling Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30 (about $4.99 at drugstore.com and other retailers)
Neutrogena Beach Defense Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 30 (About $7.99 at Target and other retailers)
MDSolarSciences Mineral Moisture Defense SPF 50 ($39, mdsolarsciences.com)
Sun Bum Signature Face Stick SPF 30 ($14.99, shop.trustthebum.com)