Best zinc oxide Sunscreen
The next generation of sunscreens is just hitting the market - including L'Oreal's Anthelios SX and products containing Helioplex - designed to offer fuller protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Given all the new options, how do you know which is the best for you?
"For most people, trying to compare one sunscreen to another can be complicated, " says David J. Leffell, MD, professor of dermatology and surgery at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn.
While choosing the best sunscreen is important, perhaps even more crucial is using it correctly - something a lot of us don't do, says Henry W. Lim, MD, chair of the department of dermatology at the Henry Ford Medical Center in Detroit. So before you plop down on the lawn chair - or take the kids to the beach - here are the sunscreen facts.
Finding the Best Sunscreen
Sunscreens help shield you from the sun's dangerous ultraviolet (UV) rays in two ways. Some work by scattering the light, reflecting it away from your body. Others absorb the UV rays before they reach your .
A few years ago, choosing a good sunscreen meant you just looked for a high sun protection factor (SPF) - which rates how well the sunscreen protects against one type of -causing UV ray, ultraviolet B (UVB.) "SPF refers to blockage of UVB rays only, " says Leffell.
Research soon showed that ultraviolet A rays (UVA) also increase risk. While UVA rays don't cause, they penetrate deeply into skin and cause . The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that up to 90% of skin changes associated with aging are really caused by a lifetime's exposure to UVA rays.
The New Broad-Spectrum Sunscreens
So which is the best sunscreen for you? Clearly, you'll want a sunscreen with broad-spectrum or multi-spectrum protection for both UVB and UVA. Ingredients with broad-spectrum protection include benzophenones (oxybenzone), cinnamates (octylmethyl cinnamate and ), sulisobenzone, salicylates, , zinc oxide, avobenzone (Parsol 1789) and ecamsule (Mexoryl SX).
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